COA calls out LTFRB for using only 1% of P5.5-B budget for drivers’ assistance

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 13, 2021   •   570

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Audit (COA) has called out to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for using only 1% of the total budget for drivers’ assistance.

Based on COA’s 2020 report, the LTFRB only used around P59 million out of the P5.58 billion funds allotted for the Service Contracting Program.

“Delays in the implementation of the Service Contracting Program ranging from two  to 10 weeks as at December 31, 2020 resulted in the minimal fund utilization of only P59,720, 089 or 1.07%  of the total project fund, thereby delaying the intended benefits to the PUV drivers and operators,” the report said.

COA also reported that only 29,871 drivers or 49.79% of 60,000 targeted driver-participants were registered in the program as of the end of the year. With this, COA advised the LTFRB to review its guidelines and simplify the process for the implementation of the program  to maximize the use of the funds and the participation of beneficiaries. AAC

DOTr inks deal with Chinese firm for Mindanao Railway project

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday (October 20) signed a  project management consultancy contract for the first phase of the Mindanao Railway Project (MRP) with China Railway Design Corporation (CRDC) and Guangzhou Wanan Construction Supervision Co. Ltd. consortium.

“With the signing of the agreement, it [Mindanao Railway Project] is about to be born, it is about to be triggered into reality. That is not the end of our commitment. It is just a small start of our commitment for the Mindanao Railway to come to reality,” said DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade.

The 100-kilometer Tagum-Davao-Digos Segment is an P82 billion project that will link Davao del Norte, Davao City and Digos City with its eight stations.

“The Mindanao Railway Project, despite the many challenges in the Covid-19 pandemic, the DOTr under the leadership of Sec. Art Tugade, has been consistently pushing to realize after being just a dream for more than half a century. The Mindanao Railway system will unlock opportunities and realize the potential of the people in the land of Mindanao,” said DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy Batan.

The MRP’s first segment is designed to accommodate 122,000 passengers and will reduce travel time between Tagum and Digos from the usual three hours to just one hour.

A China-funded project, the Mindanao rail will be the first train system outside of  Luzon.

“This project is an important part of the Mindanao round-the-island railway. Its planning, construction, and operation play an extremely important role in reducing travel time on the island, accelerating the flow of passengers and goods, and promoting regional economic development,” CRDC Chairman of the Board Mr. Liu Weiqun.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said that the construction of the MRP will begin in the second quarter of 2022.

The Mindanao Railway Project is expected to help improve inter-island connectivity, generate livelihood and boost the region’s economic development. AAC

DOTr to recommend increased passenger capacity in PUVs

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will recommend an increase of passenger capacity in public utility vehicles (PUVs) as quarantine restrictions eased in the National Capital Region (NCR).

DOTr Assistant Secretary Steve Pastor on Monday (October 18) said the department will recommend the proposed passenger capacity increase to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Irerekomenda po ng Kagawaran ng Transportasyon ang pagtaas ng passenger capacity sa ating mga PUVs (The DOTr will recommend the increase of passenger capacity for our PUVs) to cope with the increased number of individuals using public transport due to the imposition of a more relaxed quarantine status,” he said during a virtual public briefing.

Pastor said that increasing the number of PUV passenger capacity from the current maximum capacity of 50 percent will not only help commuters but also PUV drivers and operators, as well.

“This will also address ang matagal na hinihiling ng ating mga kasamahan sa business sector na dapat mas mapalago (what our business sector is hoping for, to boost) economic activities. We can contribute to that through an increase in public transportation, and their capacity,” Pastor said.

The DOTr official added there is no exact figure yet for the passenger capacity but assured that the proposal to be submitted to the IATF will be based on both technical and medical studies. AAC

LTFRB issues show-cause orders vs two busway consortiums

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Monday (October 18) issued show-cause orders against two consortiums operating along the EDSA Busway for failing to deploy sufficient number of buses.

LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra explained that the agreed cap on the maximum allowable units of bus units is at 550 buses, but the two consortiums on Monday only averaged as low as 120 units.

Minabuti nating mag-issue ng show-cause order (We decided to issue a show-cause order), directing the two consortiums running the EDSA Busway why their franchise or special permit in running the EDSA Busway should not be cancelled, suspended or that they be not penalized for deploying so few units,” he added.

He added that the two consortiums are receiving payment under the Libreng Sakay service contracting program yet there are still persistent reports of drivers and conductors not receiving their salary despite rendering  full service.

“Now that we have paid so much of this to operators already, particularly dito sa EDSA Busway Consortium or anyone for that matter, hindi na nila pwedeng gawing rason ang hindi pagbabayad sa kanilang drivers,” Chairman Delgra said.

He reminded bus operators of their obligation to pay employees as mandated under the Labor Code for the EDSA Busway Libreng Sakay Program. AAC

 

 

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