Transportation dept backs P1.3-trillion economic stimulus bill

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 26 2020 06:43 PM

Passenger jeepney drivers plying the Sangandaan-Divisoria route solicit donations along Mabini Street in Caloocan City on May 25, 2020. The group of drivers had to ask for assistance from passing motorists as public transport remains suspended while Metro Manila is still under modified enhanced community quarantine. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Tuesday said it was backing a P1.3-trillion bill that aims to stimulate the economy after disruptions caused by the COVID-19 crisis. 

The DOTr said the proposed Philippine Economic Stimulus Act of 2020 (PESA) "will be of great help to stakeholders in the country’s transportation sector who were extremely affected by the impact of the coronavirus disease and the following strict quarantine measures that were put in place to stop its spread."

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said PESA can help transport companies, operators and drivers struggling to stay afloat after all forms of public transportation were suspended during the lockdown.

“As we gradually reopen the country’s economy, those hardest hit by COVID-19, like our PUV drivers and operators, airline employees, maritime workers, and airline as well as shipping companies, must be given assistance to give them the needed room to recover their income,” said Tugade.

Under PESA, the transportation sector will get an allocation of P70 billion. 

The proposal intends to mitigate income loss of PUV drivers and operators and subsidize the fuel consumption of operators.

Transport operators can also get loans to cover expenses for fuel, manpower, garage lease and other operating and capital expenses. 

"This includes intervention for the restructuring of existing loans of bus operators with private banks for the modernization of their fleet during the duration of the general community quarantine period," the DOTr said.

The DOTr said it has also submitted to Congress a proposal to aid the country's aviation sector by subsidizing wages of airline employees, augmenting airlines' working capital, and providing funds for the payment of fees and charges due to the different national airport authorities.

The DOTr said it asked for funds to provide incentives and subsidies to support the passenger shipping industry.
 
The PESA bill is a consolidation of the proposals of Albay Rep. Joey Salceda and Marikina Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo.