LTFRB adds 20 more buses to EDSA Busway Carousel

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 17, 2021   •   590

MANILA, Philippines — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has added 20 more buses to EDSA Busway Carousel.

LTFRB Chairman Atty. Martin Delgra III said this is in response to the long queues brought by the number of passengers wanting to avail of the free ride program launched by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

“Dumadami talaga ang pasahero, we have to admit that dahil na rin sa libreng sakay. Kung pagpipiliin po ng pasahero kung saan siya sasakay, sa tren ba na may bayad o sa bus na walang bayad especially along EDSA nakakasiguro ako na pipili tayo doon sa walang bayad,” he said.

(The number of passengers is increasing. We have to admit that this is due to the free rides. If passengers will choose between using the train or the free bus, especially along EDSA, I can assure you they will choose the free ride.)

From the previous 41,000 passengers riding the EDSA Busway Carousel daily, the LTFRB reported that it has increased to 182,000 passengers per day.

The agency is also looking into increasing the capacity per bus to accommodate more passengers and help lessen long queues.

Meanwhile, the DOTr is reviewing the possibility of removing the requirement of wearing face shields in buses as long as the other health and safety protocols will still be followed. AAC (with reports from Marvin Calas)

DPWH to conduct road reblocking along EDSA from Aug. 20-23

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will conduct reblocking and repairs on some parts of EDSA beginning Friday.

The following roads will be closed starting 11pm of August 20 until August 23:

  • EDSA-Caloocan (southbound) after B. Serrano Street (3rd lane from sidewalk)
  • EDSA-Makati (Northbound) before Ayala tunnel (5th lane)

The affected roads will be fully passable by 5:00 a.m. on Monday, August 23. Motorists are advised to take alternate routes.

 

LTFRB calls COA report misleading; clarifies 1% utilization rate of service contracting program budget

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Wednesday sought to clarify the findings in the 2020 Commission on Audit (COA) report which stipulated that the Service Contracting Program of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and LTFRB utilized only one percent of the allocated budget for the program.

The LTFRB explained that the actual funds were downloaded to the agency only in November 2020 and were distributed to the drivers in December.

The agency stressed that upon receiving the downloaded funds, it immediately implemented the Service Contracting Program “to incentivize Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) drivers and operators who were given permission to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The funds were distributed to the drivers through bank transfers or e-money/wallets of GCASH or PAYMAYA via InstaPay or PESONet.

“Therefore, it is misleading to angle certain reports and columns that only one percent was used from the P5.56-B funds for the Service Contracting Program, where in fact, the one percent utilization rate only covers the implementation month of December 2020, which is also the coverage/extent of the COA report that was released,” it said.

The LTFRB further reported that, as of June 30, 2021, P1.5 billion was released to beneficiary drivers nationwide and for the procurement of Systems Manager, a computer program responsible for the development and management of all project systems.

The LTFRB also said that initial payouts of P4,000 were provided to 23,410 drivers; one-time onboarding incentives of P25,000 were provided to 8,461 drivers; one-time onboarding incentives of P20,000 were provided to 702 drivers; and; 18,864 drivers received their weekly payouts.

Regional Disbursement Breakdown:

NCR: P 899,283,017
Region I : P 30,880,623
Region II: P 22,700,504
Region III: P 66,521,375
Region IV : P 100, 976, 294
Region V: P 961, 133
Region VI: P 57,889,214
Region VII: P 14, 594,682
Region VIII: P 2,122,413
Region IX: P 21,065,854
Region X: P 28,938,937
Region XI: P 17,494,636
Region XII: P 81, 798,612
CARAGA: P 72,533,642
CAR: P 26,635,722

Driver Participants:

Registered Drivers- 70,303
Uploaded Drivers- 50,547
Oriented Drivers- 59, 153
Executed Contracts- 50,068

The statement said that to date, the LTFRB is in close coordination with the Department of Budget and Management for the release of funds amounting to P3.3 Billion on the remaining account payables.

The LTFRB said it is committed to helping the DOTr achieve its goal in improving the public transport system towards the development of long-term solutions in the service of our drivers, operators, and the public in general, especially during this time of the pandemic.

LTFRB defends slow pace of fund release for service contracting program

Maris Federez   •   August 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman Atty. Martin Delgra defended the agency’s seemingly slow-paced implementation of the Service Contracting Program, which resulted in the delay of the release of benefits intended for public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and operators.

“Alam din po natin na kahit na sinagad po natin ‘yung programa hanggang June 30, yung pagmomonitor, pagkokolekta ng mga date, pagpeprare ng mga payroll, at saka mga financial documents, hindi po natin maaabot doon sa last day,” Delgra said.

Based on the 2020 Annual Audit Report of the Commission on Audit (COA), the LTFRB has released only about P59.7 million or just one percent of the P5.5 billion budget for the said program.

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

The COA recommended to the LTFRB to review its guidelines and make the process simple for the fast distribution of funds.

The Service Contracting Program was launched under the Bayanihan to Recover as One or the Bayanihan 2 which aimed at providing additional income and incentives to drivers whose livelihood was affected by the pandemic.

The said program also launched the government’s Libreng Sakay which was suspended when the implementation of the Bayanihan 2 ended on June 20, 2021.

LTFRB Financial and Management Division, meanwhile, said that aside from the delayed launching of the program, the late downloading of the budget in November 2020 and the alleged incomplete requirement submitted by some drivers contributed to the slow processing of the release of the initial subsidy.

Delgra said around P1.25 billion or over 26 percent of the total funds was released by the agency upon the extension of the Bayanihan 2 until June 30.

The LTFRB chief also said that they have submitted their request to the Department of Budget and Management to release to them the amount of P3.4 billion to be distributed to the rest of the beneficiaries.

The LTFRB is also awaiting the P3 billion from the 2021 national budget for them to resume the service contracting program this year.

“Ayon na rin po sa guidance ng DBM, yung unspent amount po na as of June 30 on the service contracting program maibalik pero mayroon pong ibabalik ayon dun sa nirequest namin na amount na kailangan naming bayaran dun sa tinatawag nating pending payout po,” Delgra said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

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