Gov't starts distribution of PUV fuel subsidies, reveals looming fare hike

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 13) — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Wednesday began the distribution of the ₱3-billion fuel subsidy to 1.36 million transport workers, while also announcing a possible grant to jeepney fare increase before the year ends.

The LTFRB said only around 50,000 public utility vehicle drivers have been endorsed so far to the Land Bank of the Philippines for the crediting of their fuel subsidies.

"May 50,000 na po kaming in-endorse sa kanila para mai-credit po nila," said LTFRB executive director Robert Peig in a press conference. "Ipa-process na po nila (Landbank) yung pag-credit po ng fuel subsidy sa kanilang mga card."

[Translation: We already endorsed 50,000 beneficiaries for the crediting of their fuel subsidy accounts. The bank is already processing the crediting of the fuel subsidies into their cards.]

While the agency has started handing out the cash aid, several beneficiaries said they have yet to receive the subsidies in their accounts.

Under the fuel subsidy program, ₱10,000 will be given to modernized PUV drivers; ₱6,500 for drivers of traditional four-wheel PUVs; ₱1,200 for delivery riders; and ₱1,000 for tricycle drivers.

The LTFRB said it will depend on Landbank how fast they can transfer the money to all the beneficiaries.

"Insofar as the LTFRB is concerned, downloaded na po yung pera," said LTFRB chief Teofilo Guadiz.

"So nasa processing na po ng Landbank 'yun, how fast can they credit the money to the individual accounts of the operators," he added.

[Translation: Insofar as the LTFRB is concerned, the amount was already downloaded. So it is now up to Landbank on how fast they can credit the money to the individual accounts of the operators.]

The LTFRB also said it has proposed a ₱2.5 billion budget for the fuel subsidy program next year.

"Pwede po yang taasan ng Kongreso...Dahil next year po, ina-anticipate po namin that there could be one or two possible fuel subsidies," said Guadiz.

[Translation: Congress can increase it...Because next year, we are anticipating another two possible rounds of fuel subsidies.]

Fuel companies on Tuesday implemented another round of oil price hikes for the 10th straight week. The per-liter prices of gasoline and kerosene went up by ₱0.20 and diesel by ₱0.40.

Meanwhile, Guadiz also revealed that jeepney fares may soon go up as the LTFRB is poised to grant an increase to help operators adjust to rising fuel expenses.

"Definitely, there will be a provisional fare increase. Ang issue na lang ngayon is magkano (The only issue is how much) and when," the chairman said.

The agency will hold an initial hearing on Sept. 26 to consolidate the fare hike petitions submitted by transport groups.