THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 has to pay P158 million to 43 transportation companies operated by 29 transport operators in the region that participated in the public utility vehicle (PUV) free ride program for medical frontliners and authorized persons outside of residence.
LTFRB 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. said it is their central office that pays the operators after regional offices forward all relevant documents.
He said Vallacar Transit Inc., which operates Ceres buses, has informed them that it has received one-third of what the government owes.
“It’s because they are also the first one to join the program in April… but the central office will also soon provide us with a list of participating operators that have been paid,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
He assured that other operators will receive their payout in the coming weeks.
The LTFRB and its head agency, the Department of Transportation, implemented the program in April. It ended on June 30 when the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act (Bayanihan 2), which funded the program, expired.
Under the program, an initial subsidy of P4,000 was paid to participating drivers upon the signing of the contract.
While the payout was done weekly based on the daily actual kilometer run multiplied by the kilometer fee rate of P82.50 for public utility buses (PUBs) and P52.50 for public utility jeepneys (PUJs), both traditional and modern, which already consolidated into an entity.
Thirty percent of the amount for the weekly payout went to the driver and the remaining 70 percent went to the operator to cover daily operational and maintenance costs.
In Central Visayas alone, about 100 PUBs and modern PUJs were deployed under the program.
Montealto said the regional office continues to process and counter-check the daily monitoring report (certified by their cooperative) of participating units and prepare the weekly voucher, among others, before they forward it to the central office and from there to the LandBank of the Philippines.
He, however, said there is a big possibility that the free ride service will be continued after the LTFRB can settle the payout.
“We are only waiting for the approval. Maybe once we finish with the payout, we will also know when can we resume the program since the terminology used is not ‘stopped,’ rather ‘temporarily suspended’,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English. (WBS)