LTFRB defends slow pace of fund release for service contracting program

Maris Federez   •   August 13, 2021   •   526

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)

LTFRB issues show-cause orders vs two busway consortiums

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Monday (October 18) issued show-cause orders against two consortiums operating along the EDSA Busway for failing to deploy sufficient number of buses.

LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra explained that the agreed cap on the maximum allowable units of bus units is at 550 buses, but the two consortiums on Monday only averaged as low as 120 units.

Minabuti nating mag-issue ng show-cause order (We decided to issue a show-cause order), directing the two consortiums running the EDSA Busway why their franchise or special permit in running the EDSA Busway should not be cancelled, suspended or that they be not penalized for deploying so few units,” he added.

He added that the two consortiums are receiving payment under the Libreng Sakay service contracting program yet there are still persistent reports of drivers and conductors not receiving their salary despite rendering  full service.

“Now that we have paid so much of this to operators already, particularly dito sa EDSA Busway Consortium or anyone for that matter, hindi na nila pwedeng gawing rason ang hindi pagbabayad sa kanilang drivers,” Chairman Delgra said.

He reminded bus operators of their obligation to pay employees as mandated under the Labor Code for the EDSA Busway Libreng Sakay Program. AAC

 

 

Senate panel approves COA, Ombudsman proposed 2022 budget

Maris Federez   •   October 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Committee on Finance on Tuesday approved the proposed budget of two constitutional bodies for 2022.

Senator Sonny Angara called the budget deliberation of the Commission on Audit and the Office of the Ombudsman the shortest so far for this year, as the panel gave its approval under 15 minutes of the hearing.

The committee hearing for COA’s proposed budget of P14.4 billion only took 10 minutes and was soon endorsed for the nod of the plenary.

“No questions on the part of the Chair. […] this is probably the shortest budget meeting of this 2022 budget,” Angara said during the hearing.

Indicated in COA’s proposed budget is its request for additional funds for personnel services for the third tranche of the pay adjustments under the salary standardization law for government employees.

COA also requested a budget increase for the construction of provincial satellite auditing offices and provision for the operational expenses of these branches.

“We have written a letter to the committee asking for additional budgetary support primarily on the MOOE (Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses) […] and possibly if the budget is flexible enough, maybe additional capital outlay,” said COA chairperson Michael Aguinaldo.

COA has, so far, completed the construction of 54 satellite offices, and 17 more under construction.

Meanwhile, it only took the Senate panel 13 minutes to finish the hearing of the P3.9 billion budget of the Office of the Ombudsman that was recommended by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Ombudsman Samuel Martires appealed for additional funding for its operational budget that was cut by almost half by the DBM.

“We’re not asking too much. If it will be hard for the Senate to give us the proposed budget for 2022, then we just would like to request that at least the budget that was given to us for 2021 be retained,” Martires said.

The Senate is currently on recess and is expected to resume on November 8 wherein senators are expected to start the deliberation of the national budget in the plenary. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

P3 dagdag-pasahe, hiling ng ilang transport groups dahil sa tumataas na presyo ng petrolyo

Robie de Guzman   •   October 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Plano ngayon ng ilang transport group na maghain ng pormal na petisyon para sa hiling nilang dagdag-pasahe sa Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Ayon sa grupong Pasang Masda, tatlong piso sa unang tatlong kilometro ang hirit ng mga jeepney driver sa gitna na rin ng tumataas na presyo ng mga produktong petrolyo.

Kung maaaprubahan ay magiging P12 na ang minimum fare sa pampasaherong jeep mula sa kasalukuyang P9.

Tiniyak naman ni Obet Martin, ang pinuno ng grupong Pasang Masda, na agad nilang ibababa ang pamasahe kapag bumaba na rin ang halaga ng krudo.

“About 3 years ago or 4 years ago, nang bumaba ang presyo ng diesel na tig-29 pesos, immediately, kami rin ang grupo ay nagpunta ng LTFRB. Then, we filed our petition para i-rollback ang pamasahe. Nag-file kami at iyan din naman ang assurance natin sa ating mga kababayan. ‘Pag nag-normalize, ibabalik po natin doon sa dating pamasahe,” ani Martin.

Paliwanag ng Department of Energy (DOE), ang patuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng petrolyo sa bansa ay epekto ng paggalawa ng pandaigdigang presyo.

Ayon kay DOE-Oil Industry Management Bureau director Rino Abad, bunsod ito ng kakulangan sa supply at pagtaas ng demand sa langis dahil sa unti-unting pagbubukas ng ekonomiya at sa winter season sa ibang bansa.

“Itong nangyayaring pagkakakulangan ng ating crude oil supply on the global market ay ito’y inI-expect na aabot po ng hanggang katapusan ng taon at posible pong magkaroon na ng easing out, yung paghihinay-hinay ng kakulangan, on the first quarter of 2022,” ani Abad.

Sa panig naman ng LTFRB, sinabi ng executive director ng ahensiya na si Joel Bolano na pag-aaralan nila ang hiling ng mga tsuper na itaas ang pasahe upang maka-agapay sila sa kasalukuyang halaga ng petrolyo.

“Batay po doon sa mga increases ng atin pong petrolyo, based doon sa ating computation po kung babalikan po natin yung year-on-year na increase po ay at least mga 1.20 – hindi po lalagpas ng P1.26 more or less po,” ani Abad.

Payo naman ng DOE sa mga tsuper na magpakarga sa mga gasolinahan na nag-aalok ng promotions gaya ng discount at rebate na inilalaan dahil sa mataas na kumpetisyon.

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