Duterte report says 40,000 public transport drivers received cash aid in 3rd week of lockdown


Posted at Apr 14 2020 03:40 PM

MANILA - Around 40,000 public utility drivers have received the government's cash aid for the coronavirus crisis, according to President Rodrigo Duterte's third weekly report to Congress.

Among those who received between P5,000 and P8,000 from the government are 40,418 jeepney, bus, taxi, tourism and school transportation drivers, Duterte said in his report.

Motorcycle-taxi drivers as well as those registered under ride-hailing firms also received the monthly stipend from the government, it said.

While the government handed out P323.34 million in cash aid for drivers, the amount reached less than 10 percent of the target 435,000 drivers nationwide, who were affected by the ban on mass transportation during the 2-month Luzon lockdown.

Three weeks since the passage of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act - which guarantees 2-month subsidies for 18 million poor families - the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has yet to finalize the list of beneficiaries.

According to the same report, the DSWD and the Department of Finance are still "preparing a comprehensive list of households per municipality that will group members of the formal and informal sectors."

Aside from public utility drivers, the government has distributed P16.34 billion to 3.72 million beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer program, the report said.

"As recommended in the Senate comments, the DSWD is studying the development of a unified online public and transparency system to promote better monitoring of the Social Amelioration Program implementation and encourage public participation," it said.

The DSWD also opened an operations center "to receive grievances from the public to enable it to promptly address gaps in implementation."

Senate President Vicente Sotto III earlier said he would urge other senators to investigate the "backlog" in the distribution of cash aid during the coronavirus crisis.

"The system should have been in place now if not for the red tape. I will urge the Senate to investigate why this is so when we resume [session]," Sotto told reporters in a text message.

"I don’t see any conflicts and the availability of funds... It is in the local level where the backlog is happening," he said.