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DOTr to advance P10-B dividends as PH mounts defense vs COVID-19

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) wants to advance P10 billion in dividends to the Department of Finance (DOF) to support the government’s spending measures in containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Thursday ordered the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) to remit the amount by Friday.

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“We are now engaged in a war against COVID-19 and the government now needs to muster every financial support it can get to contain and eliminate this deadly disease,” Tugade said in a statement. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the new coronavirus, which reportedly first surfaced in Hubei in China.

“We at the DOTr are throwing our support to this effort and to make sure that we as a country survives to see victory in this war against an invisible but very dangerous enemy,” he added.

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The PPA is set to remit P4 billion in dividends to the DOF. MIAA and Caap will remit another P3 billion each, the DOTr said. Ordinarily, the dividends are to be remitted every May 15.

According to Assistant Transport Secretary Goddes Libiran, the dividends from the PPA come mainly from port operations, while those from Caap from aeronautical charges like overfly, takeoff and landing fees, concessions and licenses.

“The dividends to be remitted by the three DOTr agencies will greatly help in funding the government’s campaign against COVID-19, as well as other government projects,” the DOTr said without detailing the projects.

The order was given during a meeting with government aviation sector officials.

During the same briefing, stakeholders were also told to grant a one-month “rental holiday” and a deferral of rental charges on the succeeding month to cover the enhanced community quarantine period. Tugade said the rental holiday and the deferral of payment of charges for airport concessionaires would take effect immediately.

The moves would help cushion the economic impact of COVID-19 on the country’s aviation industry and its stakeholders, the DOTr noted.

“We need to be prepared for any possible scenario and to employ all possible countermeasures including what may appear to be drastic and extreme ones,” Tugade said.

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“But we, at the DOTr, remain committed to the government’s effort to protect our country and the health of its citizens against this deadly coronavirus,” he added. —with a report from Krixia Subingsubing

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TAGS: COVID-19 pandemic, Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Transportation (DOTr), Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade
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