The city government has rolled out a cash and fuel subsidy program for the public transport sector effective May 5-15, in a bid to encourage the transport sector to observe physical distancing.

At the same time, selected jeepneys and multicabs designated by the city government will be offering free rides to the public starting Tuesday also until May 15.

Two separate ordinances passed on Monday by the City Council provide for a cash subsidy of P500 daily for multicab drivers and operators, on top of a daily gasoline subsidy of 12 liters.

Tricycles, apart from being allowed to operate in national highways during the GCQ period, will receive 2 liters of gasoline per day, also from May 5-15.

The measure also provides that the fuel subsidy can be withdrawn by the qualified beneficiaries in bulk between May 5 to May 8, in a Caltex gasoline station still to be designated by the city government.

Majority floor leader Councilor Victor Oliveros said around 500 multicabs and 6,000 franchised tricycles are qualified for the subsidy.

The subsidy is designed to encourage public utility vehicles to observe physical distancing in accommodating passengers, in effect limiting their number to allow for distance.

“Ito ay para maibalik ang mga activities sa ating lungsod pero kasama sa protocols ng GCQ ay social distancing at isa sa epekto nito ay konti ang pasahero ng transport sector,” Oliveros said.

“Ayon dito sa ordinansa, ang mga multicab ay bibigyan ng 12 liters kada araw at dalawang litro naman sa tricycles. Nasa 500 multicabs at mahigit 6,000 ang franchised na tricycles ay makakatanggap maliban na lang kung hindi sila bibiyahe,” Oliveros said.

Free rides

Oliveros said there will be an estimated 100 jeepneys and multicabs that will be marked specifically to offer free rides to the public.

“‘Yong may free rides ay para lang sa piling jeep at multicab. There are designated drivers and operators, more or less 100, spread throughout existing routes,” Oliveros said.

Special rate for tricycles

A separate ordinance also approved Monday provides for the application of special rates for tricycles during the ECQ period.

Councilor Peter Maristela, the measure’s author, said the temporary rate will increase from P10 to P20 for the first two kilometers.

“[Ang regular kasi ay] P10 for every first two kilometers at ngayon ay payagan na maging P20 kasi ang pinapayagan ngayon ay isa lang na pasahero. Kung regular fare lang ay medyo maliit pero palagay ko ay hindi naman ganon kalugi kasi mabilis ang pila kung tag isa na lang ang pasahero. Ang i-allow lang natin ay ‘yon lamang first two kilometers lalo na may subsidy naman sila from the city,” he said.

Maristela added that special fare will be valid until the Department of Transportation (DOTr) lifts the one passenger, one tricycle policy in accordance with the social distancing.

“Kahit na-lift na po ang GCQ pero hindi pa na-lift ang utos ng DOTr [na social distancing] ay hindi rin ito mali-lift,” he added.

Cash assistance

Councilor Atty. Herbert Dilig also clarified that subsidy will be valid until May 15 which is also based on the availability of the savings.

“Ang subsidy natin ay nakabase doon sa available na savings na mayro’n tayo. After May 15 ay pag-uusapan nalang natin ulit kung ano ang gagawin,” Dilig said.

Source of funds

City Budget Officer Regina Cantillo who was present during the regular session, said that a total of P5.5 million from the savings of the city government from mayor’s office and engineering office as well as from the financial assistance of the city social welfare and development office will be allocated to the program.

“Due to ECQ ay nagkaroon tayo ng savings sa fuel, oils and lubricants kung saan two months ang nagenerate natin. Mayron po tayong P4.4 million from the engineering and mayors office plus P1.1 million from the city social welfare and development office,” Cantillo said.

She said Caltex will supply the fuel that based on the bidding.

Cantillo said that billing of the fuel company will be based on the current price not on the price during the bidding.

Caltex will give P2.00 discount in current price of fuel and will donate P100,000 to the subsidy program of the city government.

“Hindi po maapektuhan ang presyo kasi ang billing naman ng Caltex ay kung magkano ang presyo ngayon hindi noong nag-bidding. ‘Yong current price ay P46 minus P2 discount per liter ay P44 na lang. Then ang sabi ng Caltex ay magdo-donate sila ng P100,000 ay minus pa rin ito doon sa total bill natin,” Cantillo said. (with reports from Romar Miranda)

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