There should be no further delay in the release of emergency subsidy for affected tricycle drivers following the extension of the enhanced community quarantine in the NCR and other high-risk regions, Sen. Grace Poe underscored.
“‘Wag na natin pa silang paghintayin. Ang matiyaga nilang paghahatid sa atin noon kahit sa mga liblib na sulok ay suklian naman natin ngayon ng paghahatid sa kanila ng karampatang ayuda, (We should not make them wait any further. Their perseverance to bring us even to remote areas must now be repaid with prompt aid,)” said Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services handling transport concerns.
The senator made the call in the wake of the report made by the 2.9-million strong National Confederation of Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (NACTODAP) that “many of its non-4P members have only received measly or partial subsidy, if not none, from the government.”
“Hindi pa naibibigay nang buo ang unang bugso ng ayuda, samantalang na-extend na uli ang quarantine,” NACTODAP National President Ariel Lim said. Affected tricycle drivers and operators in various cities and provinces comprise a significant number of the informal economy workers who are considered government priority for aid under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act or Republic Act (RA) 11469.
Poe stressed, “They have spared us from having to walk long distances to our homes even in harsh conditions. They do not deserve to wait in line for a day more to get aid.”
Aside from 4Ps, the initial subsidy to the sector came from the assistance for informal economy workers, local government units’ (LGU) aid, and the Tulong Panghanapbuhay para sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) under RA 11469, Lim said.
The Executive Department’s April 20 report to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee stated that under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Program mainly implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, “for the non-4Ps, the amount of P73.8 billion or 91 percent of the allocated amount has already been downloaded to the local government units.”
The concerned LGUs are required to distribute assistance within seven days, and 10 days from geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas from the receipt of funds, to be followed by a liquidation report within 15 days.
Poe earlier hailed LGUs that already handed assistance to the informal economy workers especially tricycle drivers.
Another source of aid for the sector, the TUPAD program implemented by the Department of Labor and Employment “has served 178,549 beneficiaries” as of April 16, with P410.7 million utilized out of P966.5 million, according to the April 20 report.
Meanwhile, Poe also urged fuel subsidy and livelihood assistance grants for tricycle drivers in areas placed under general community quarantine where public transport will be allowed in reduced capacity.
“Mas kaunti ang kikitain nila sa pamamasada dahil limitado din ang pwede nilang isakay, kaya kailangan pa rin nila ng ayuda,” Poe explained.