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PUV Drivers Call Out Party-List Congresswoman Over Lavish Wedding

Transport sector needs help, MANIBELA tells Rep. Claudine Bautista.
by Pia Regalado
Just now
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano

A transport group on Tuesday called out a party-list congresswoman representing public utility drivers over her lavish wedding when the sector is languishing because of the pandemic.

Drivers United for Mass Progress and Equal Rights Drivers United for Mass Progress and Equal Rights (DUMPER) Rep. Claudine Bautista's wedding on Balesin Island was made public by Dubai-based designer Michael Cinco, who posted photos of the lawmaker in a Cinderella-inspired wedding gown that he created.

MANIBELA president Mar Valbuena called out Bautista aired out his frustration in an interview with News 5.

"Ang hirap po na nagpapakasasa ka, sige sabihin na nating pera mo 'yan pero may nakalaan ding pondo sa ating mga kababayan. Ikaw na nakaupo diyan, dapat ikaw ang pangunahing nagfa-follow-up para matulungan ang sektor na nire-represent mo. Nasaan ka? Kung hindi mo magampanan 'yung papel mo, mahiya ka naman," he said.

"Kung meron lang kaming pang-Balesin, may pangbili lang kami ng damit kay Michael Cinco, hindi na po kami mananawagan."

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Until now, some drivers have yet to receive the subsidies promised to them under a P5.58 billion service contracting scheme, Valbuena said.

"Naipon nang naipon 'yung utang namin, nagkadoble-doble po ang pahirap. May utang ka na, hindi ka pa makasingil, wala ka pang maipangpakain sa pamilya mo, hinuhuli ka pa sa kalsada kahit maka-exceed ka lang ng isang pasahero."

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Sen. Nancy Binay earlier called on the Department of Transportation and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to fast-track aid distribution for the transport sector.

"The DOTr and the LTFRB are invisible, and have become the single-biggest job stranglers since the start of the pandemic. Bigyan naman sila [drivers] kahit konting dignidad sana. Tinanggalan na ng pasada, pinagkaitan pa ng ayuda," she said.

The Commission on Audit said in a report that only about 1%, or about P59 million of the P5.58 billion funds allocated for the program have been used. Less than half of the 60,000 target driver recipients were registered in the program as of 2020, Binay said.

The LTFRB on June 30 said it released P1.5 billion in payouts and incentives for public utility drivers. It said it would again set aside funds for the service contracting program in the 2021 budget.

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