LANDBANK OKs P2.3B in loans for acquisition of 1,093 PUVs 

STATE-RUN Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) on Thursday said it approved P2.32 billion in loans as of August for the purchase of 1,093 modern public utility vehicles (PUV). 

The bank said the financing is part of the SPEED PUV (Special Package for Environment-Friendly and Efficiently-Driven Public Utility Vehicles). 

“Another P4 billion is being processed for 43 additional loan applications,” LANDBANK said in an e-mailed statement. 

LANDBANK is supporting the acquisition of modern public utility vehicles, both jeepneys and buses, by providing financing to transport cooperatives and corporations. 

Also on Thursday, the bank announced that it will be facilitating the distribution of cash payments to eligible public utility vehicle operators as part of the government’s service contracting program, which has a funding of P3 billion. 

Payments will be made through these operators’ existing LANDBANK accounts and other outlets via InstaPay or PESONet. 

“Under the program, qualified…operators will receive the payouts weekly while providing free rides to frontline healthcare workers and Authorized Persons Outside Residence to support their mobility requirements during the ongoing pandemic,” the bank said. 

At a House budget hearing on Wednesday, Transportation department officials said a P10-billion fund allotted for the service contracting program was slashed from their proposed 2022 budget. 

The government’s service contracting program would pay PUV drivers a fixed income based on kilometers traveled rather than the number of passengers, as well as a one-time incentive payout of P4,000.   

The program started as part of the Bayanihan II, with P5.58 billion allotted to the Transportation department.  

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Chairman Martin B. Delgra III said during the hearing that President Rodrigo R. Duterte has approved the release of P3.38 billion in Bayanihan II funds for drivers hired through the service contracting program.   

He said the agency is hoping to complete the payments within the next two to three days. — Arjay L. Balinbin