DOTr issues P2.5-B fuel subsidy

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MANILA – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has begun distributing the first tranche of its PHP2.5 billion fuel subsidy to public utility vehicle (PUV) beneficiaries through the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), in an effort to mitigate the effects of rising oil prices.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade also appealed to transport operators and drivers not to raise fares, claiming that doing so would result in significant inflation.

“Ang position namin, ‘wag kayong magtaas ng fare, tanggapin ‘yung ayuda, gamitin ‘yung subsidiya (Our position is do not impose a fare hike, accept the aid, and use the subsidy),” Tugade said.

The LTFRB earlier said that it started rolling out fuel subsidies worth PHP6,500 on Tuesday to drivers and operators of public utility jeepneys who are listed cardholders while bus operators are expected to receive their aid Wednesday.

The Landbank cards for the additional beneficiaries may be claimed next week, according to LTFRB Executive Director Kristina Cassion.

She added that after the official lists from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are completed, even tricycle operators who are not covered by the LTFRB will receive aid along with delivery beneficiaries.

Some public transport operators, however, insisted that the mounting fuel prices are still intolerable even with the subsidy.

According to Nida Saguilot, a public utility jeepney operator, their drivers are still unable to cope with the prior hikes, and yet another wave of significant oil price hike came on Tuesday.

“Sa pagtaas ng fuel parang ‘di sapat ‘yung PHP6,500 sa laki kasi ng itinaas (ng gasolina), isa pa lahat nagsi-taas ng presyo mga piyesa, petroleum etc. E kung ‘di itaas ang pamasahe paano na sure bababa rin ang boundary, e cost of living tumaas na rin (The PHP6,500 subsidy seems to be inadequate with the big-time oil price hike alongside the increased prices in mechanical parts, petroleum, etc. If there’s no fare hike, for sure the boundary will drop, but the cost of living continues to rise),” she said.

Tugade stated that the assistance was only to mitigate the oil price hike impact for 29 to 18 days, if fuel prices are set to PHP60.62/liter to P75.59/liter, respectively.

“Aaminin ko ho na ‘yung ayudang ibinibigay natin ngayon ay hindi eksato todo-todo, kulang pa rin ho ‘yan, kailangang repasuhin, i-adjust, kaya nga mayroon tayong second tranche sa April. Ganun din ho ‘yung sistema ng distribution (I admit that this subsidy is not enough, it’s inadequate, there’s a need for review and adjustment, that’s why we have the second tranche in April using the similar system of distribution.)” he added.

Aside from the fuel subsidy, Tugade emphasized the advantages of the Service Contracting Program (SCP), highlighting how important it is to operators, drivers, and commuters during the crisis. To note, the initiative has aided 75,688,064 libreng sakay riders.

The SCP has been allotted up to PHP7 billion under the General Appropriations Act of 2022, with the goal of covering all operational expenses, including fuel expenses.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.