With ₱2.6-B funding from Bayanihan 2, DOTr to partially subsidize fees, fuel for public transport vehicles

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 1) — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will receive ₱2.6 billion under the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act to partially subsidize some expenses shouldered by public transport vehicle operators in the air, maritime and road sector.

DOTr Undersecretary Garry De Guzman told lawmakers Tuesday that the funding for assistance to sectors affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is part of the P9.5-billion budget given to the agency under the Bayanihan 2 bill.

De Guzman said subsidies will come in the form of waiving landing fees and certain airport charges for airlines.

“The money we will be getting from the Bayanihan 2, we will be paying the airport authorities so that the airport authorities will not lose revenue because they also need to maintain facilities,” he said during a briefing of the House of Representatives transportation committee.

De Guzman said DOTr will also use part of the v2.6-billion funding to subsidize fees charged by the Philippine Ports Authority to roll-on, roll-off operators in the maritime sector.

DOTr Assistant Secretary Steven Pastor said the agency will also extend fuel subsidies to operators of public utility buses, jeepneys and UV Express. The amount will be equivalent to 30 percent of their daily fuel consumption.

As additional assistance, Pastor said DOTr will also tap public utility vehicle operators for a service contracting arrangement. The project has a ₱5.6-billion budget under the Bayanihan 2 bill.

The service contracting deal involves allowing PUV drivers to operate during a specific period and subject to certain conditions.

Pastor said drivers and operators will not only have a guaranteed income from the arrangement, but they will also retain revenues from fares collected from passengers.

“The program will provide guaranteed revenues to our transport industry, regardless of the passenger demand-- which is the intention of this law,” he said.

The Bayanihan 2 bill is awaiting the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte.