GenSan transport sector lauds gov’t fuel subsidy scheme


GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Public transport operators and drivers here lauded on Friday the national government’s move to provide them with fuel subsidies amid the increasing prices of petroleum products.

Orly Sabelita, chairperson of GenSan Transport workers Alliance (GTA), said the subsidy will give them much-needed relief from the series of fuel price increases in the past several weeks that caused regular and premium gasoline prices to soar to as high as PHP65 per liter.

He said they are currently working with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for the availment of the subsidy.

“It’s a welcome move from the government and we’re hoping that it will be released soon,” he told reporters.

Sabelita said LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III, who graced a meeting of transport cooperatives here on Friday, assured the timely release of the subsidy to the eligible beneficiaries.

Aside from the subsidy, he said they are pushing for the rollout of more support initiatives for the transport sector, especially the extension of the “libreng sakay (free ride)” program for front-line workers and authorized persons outside of residence (APORs).

At least 22 public utility vehicles (PUVs) in the city were included by LTFRB-Region 12 in the second phase of the 45-day program, which started last Sept. 21.

The service contracting program offers a rate of PHP82.50 per kilometer (km) while the lower mode units get PHP52.50/km.

The beneficiaries included members of GTA, which is the local chapter of the National Confederation of Transport Workers Union.

“They assured us that the program will be given additional funding and expanded next year,” Sabelita said.

He said they are hoping that the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) situation will further ease in the coming months so their operations would also start to normalize.

Sabelita said their sector has not yet recovered from the series of lockdowns implemented by the local government since last year due to the pandemic.

As in the other parts of the country, PUVs in the city are only allowed to operate at 50 percent seating capacity as a preventive measure against the spread of Covid-19. (PNA) 


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