Two days after a tense exchange at the Commission on Appointments (CA), Senator Alan Peter Cayetano and Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista have agreed to help each other expedite the distribution of fuel subsidies to thousands of tricycle drivers nationwide.
Cayetano and Bautista met on Friday, December 9, to discuss the problem of thousands of tricycle drivers who have yet to receive their share of the P2.5 billion the government had earmarked for the purpose.
The independent senator had raised the matter during Bautista’s confirmation hearing before the CA on Wednesday, December 7.
Cayetano said he and Bautista discussed how the subsidies could be implemented more quickly in order to benefit the tricycle driver sector which is still reeling from high fuel prices, inflation, and the still ongoing pandemic.
The senator said Bautista agreed that the distribution could be done by the local government units (LGUs) since these have the experience and capacity to hand out the assistance.
The LGUs also have the list of tricycle drivers in their respective areas, he added.
Cayetano, who is the CA minority leader, revealed during Bautista’s confirmation hearing that only around 6,000 tricycle drivers nationwide had received their subsidy.
This is a far cry from the 600,000 tricycle drivers that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) had said were qualified to receive the amount.
Bautista had said the delays were due to the unavailability of master lists of registered tricycle drivers in some LGUs, but Cayetano said the various tricycle operators and drivers associations (TODAs) in the country can be called upon to help in the distribution of the subsidy to their respective members.
He said these transport groups are among the most organized in the country and have complete lists of their members.
Cayetano also said Bautista should bring his expertise as a private sector executive into the DOTr in order to effect change that will benefit not just the transport sector but the transportation system of the country.