Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has expressed his support for the 2021 budget of the Department of Transportation, while commending its valuable contribution to the government’s efforts in transporting stranded Filipinos locally and abroad along with its attached agencies amid COVID-19 pandemic.
“I fully express my support to the Department of Transportation and the agencies under its helm such as, but not limited to, the Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Office of Transportation Cooperatives, Civil Aeronautics Board, Office of Transportation Security, Maritime Industry Authority and Philippine Coast Guard,” Go said during a public budget hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Finance on Friday, October 2.
Citing the agency’s role as one of the pillars in government’s crusade to combat and cope with the ongoing pandemic, Go said that the DOTr has instituted various programs that alleviate the plight of the Filipino people, especially to the so-called locally stranded individuals in Metro Manila during the strict community quarantine.
“Napakaimportante po na makasama natin ang ating mga mahal sa buhay sa panahon ng pandemya. The DOTr also instituted reforms in our public transportation system to adjust to the new normal,” Go said.
The Senator also stressed the important role of DOTr in the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program instituted by the executive branch, as they are in charge in ferrying the returning and relocating residents from Metro Manila back to their home provinces, as well as in ensuring unhindered transport and delivery of critical goods and services in various parts of the country.
“Bilang isang probinsyano, I want this program to succeed. I want our local economies in different regions of the country to prosper. I want to improve the quality of life of every Filipino, kahit nasaan man sila, saang sulok man ng Pilipinas,” said Go.
While he expressed his support, Go urged the DOTr and its attached agencies, especially the LTFRB to extend assistance and open more routes for public utility vehicle drivers who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I call on the DOTr to primarily focus on the safety of our commuters, hindi pa po tapos ang laban. Andyan pa rin po ang banta ng pandemyang ito. Kaya hinihikayat ko ang DOTr at ang ating mga kababayan na huwag maging kampante,” Go said.
“Sumunod tayo sa mga health protocols issued by the DOH, lalo na ang pagsuot ng masks and social distancing. Balansehin din po natin ang kapakanan ng ating mga drivers ng public transport, marami po sa kanila ay ang nawalan ng mga ruta,” he added.
He then asked the DOTr and the LTFRB to open more routes for public utility vehicles and fast track the pending applications of franchises and routes to boost employment among public utility vehicle drivers nationwide.
“Nawala po ang kanilang hanapbuhay, I urge the DOTR and the LTFRB, to extend assistance and open more routes para mas matulungan natin ang ating mga drivers na naghihirap,” he said.
“Huwag na po natin pahirapan ang mga naghihirap. To the LTFRB, please also fast track all of the pending applications of franchises and routes para mas dumami ang mabigyan ng trabaho sa ating mga kababayan,” he added.
Go has also reiterated his support for the construction of the New Manila International Airport in Bulacan, which he believed will help decongest the metropolis from heavy traffic and invite more employment in Bulacan.
“Panahon na para i-decongest natin ang Maynila. Welcome development po ang pag construct ng international airport sa Bulacan which will complement the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program. I also hope that in addition to the Bulacan airport, we construct and develop more airports in various parts of the country, lalo na ‘yung mga mahirap puntahan,” Go said.
“This will not only improve domestic tourism but also ease the delivery of basic services to our fellow kababayans,” he added.