The government has finally realized the need to subsidize public transport operators and drivers to help them continue servicing commuters under severe capacity restrictions meant to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection among commuters.
The subsidy will come in the form of what the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases, IATF for short, calls the service contracting scheme.
The service contracting scheme was earlier proposed by the the Economic Development Cluster (EDC) of the IATF and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
In a resolution, the IATF said it “approved the implementation of service contracting of public utility vehicles (PUVs) to subsidize public transport operations, incentivize PUV operators to return, serve commuters, and restore the livelihood of displaced transport workers.”
Funding for the public transport operators subsidy is provided for under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or the “Bayanihan 2,” a stimulus package aimed at combatting the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and to jumpstart the moribund economy.
“Due to the limitations imposed on our public transportation, operators and drivers may not be able to sustain their operations. This may lead to inconsistent travel trips causing commuters to compete for rides, while drivers and operators disregard passenger capacity in exchange for more revenue,” said DOTr Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Steve Pastor in a press statement.
“The concerned agencies in the transport sector are adamant that safety should not be foregone as we push for economic recovery and mobility of services. Thus, we are pushing for the use of service contracting as these would allow for efficiency of travel and the reduction of transmission,” Pastor added.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is still drafting guidelines on how the subsidy will be implemented but in essence “government will be paying operators and drivers of public transportation units based on vehicle-kilometers travelled and specific performance indicators.”
The LTFRB said that the subsidy will ensure that transport operators will continuously provide services because their revenue will not fully depend on number of passengers being carried and that “drivers will be fully compensated for their services, despite the imposed load limitations,” said LTFRB chair Martin Delgra III.
The LTFRB added that the amount of subsidy will depend on the evaluation of a “third-party monitoring entity” of the “total vehicle-kilometers operated, the reliability of services, driver and vehicle quality and customer satisfaction.”
It is also still studying how the amount of subsidy will be remitted or paid to operators and drivers.
The idea for a subsidy is good. But the LTFRB and the IATF and other government agencies concerned should also realize that they need to quickly act on implementing the subsidy for the sake of commuters, the transport operators, and the thousands of drivers who have lost their livelihoods in the long months of the lockdown.
Some also are already thinking about what’s ahead for mass transport in the new normal. Perhaps the subsidy should be extended well into the future as part of government’s long term transport modernization program.
20th HFA is on
The Henry Ford Awards, the country’s only program for recognizing excellence in automotive journalism, announced that it is now accepting nominations and entries.
In a press statement, HFA said that on its 20th year of handing out awards, it will recognize 20 motoring journalists and editorial teams who have demonstrated excellence, utmost professionalism, and social responsibility in their field of work.
Aside from the 11 regular categories for awards, the special categories for Best Ford Automotive Feature and Ford Automotive Video Feature, and Best Automotive Section for Broadsheet and Best Automotive Online Publication, this year the HFA will introduce a new category, the Go Further Changemaker Award.
Five recipients will be receiving this new award which honors journalists “who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help his or her fellow countrymen during the COVID-19 pandemic through acts of goodness, programs and initiatives that benefitted frontliners, patients, and the public at large,” a press statement said.
“The 20th installment of the Henry Ford Awards will be more meaningful not only because it’s a milestone year but also because now more than ever, we want to recognize and pay tribute to our esteemed group of motoring journalists for keeping the industry alive and thriving despite the pandemic,” said EJ Francisco, AVP for Communications, Ford Philippines.
1 website, 6 brands
If you’re looking to buy a Honda, an Isuzu, a Volkswagen, a KTM, a Kia, or a Maxus, you can go to just one website, ACMotors.com.ph.
AC Motors is the automotive and motorcycle distribution and retail group of Ayala subsidiary AC Industrials which handles all five auto and one motorcycle marques.
According to AC Motors, its website provides a comprehensive and interactive touchpoint for customers to gain information about all six brands’ products, have queries answered, offer feedback, and make reservations.
On the website, one can shop by brand or body type; find a dealer; request for a quotation; apply for financing; request for a test drive; make a reservation; e-mail inquiries, and interact through live chat.
Mitsubishi Motor Philippines Corporation (MMPC) reports selling 2,621 units in August with the L300 leading the charge with 699 units sold, a 35 percent increase from 517 sold in July.
Mitsubishi said the strong demand for the L300 may be an indication the economy is recovering steadily as reflected by the growing business for delivery services.
This is certainly good news.
Also good news for Mitsubishi is the strong demand for the Xpander which sold 620 units and the Strada which sold 564 units in August.
“We at Mitsubishi Motors Philippine Corporation are optimistic that the economy will continue to improve in the succeeding months. We are geared to provide better offerings to the market to support their vehicle needs during these trying times,” said Mutsuhiro Oshikiri, MMPC president and CEO.
Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) seems a lot friendlier in the digital age. It has just launch of two new chat channels — its official Viber Community and its enhanced Facebook Messenger chat.
Toyota PH is the official Viber Community for Filipino Toyota owners, future customers, and aficionados which can be accessed by searching for the verified Toyota PH community on Viber or by visiting Toyota PH via mobile or desktop internet browsers.
Those who are more into Facebook can use TMP’s enhanced Facebook Messenger chat to send inquiries and be connected with the official Facebook Messenger chat of their preferred Toyota dealer.
They can go to http://m.me/toyotamotorphilippines or search the verified Toyota Motor Philippines account (with the blue check mark) on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ToyotaMotorPhilippines) and tap on the Messenger icon or link.