Senate probe sought on slow payment release for transport service contracting

PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

SENATOR GRACE Poe-Llamanzares has filed a resolution seeking an inquiry on the slow rollout of pandemic response funds intended to help the transport sector.

“It is lamentable that the government simply shrugged its shoulders over its inability to disburse payments to our operators under the service contracting program,” Ms. Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, said in a press release on Tuesday.

She cited the Commission on Audit (CoA) 2020 report showing that only P3.02 million or 0.05% of the P5.58-billion budget for the service contracting program under Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan II) were released to beneficiaries.

The contracting program was intended to assist public utility vehicle drivers and operators by hiring them to provide transport to frontline workers.

The proposed Senate probe aims to look into the “utterly dismal rollout of the service contracting program,” which is led by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Chairman Martin B. Delgra III of LTFRB has previously said that they have disbursed P1.25 billion or 26.55% of the total allocation for payouts as of June this year.

Ms. Poe said “the incredibly slow release of funds to pay operators and drivers” is “unacceptable.” — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

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