Comelec exempts fuel subsidy from poll spending ban

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 20) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday approved the request of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to exclude fuel subsidies from the spending ban

The exemption was made in light of the ban put in place for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE).

Comelec Chairman George Garcia earlier said that the poll body received the request for exemption, adding the official approval document will be released within the day.

The Comelec has banned the release of public funds for social services and development from Sept. 15 to 30 in connection with the BSKE on October 30.

"Ang commitment natin ilalabas natin ngayong araw ang exemption na yan," said Garcia.

"Hindi natin patatagalin sapagkat kailangang-kailangan yan ng ating mga kababayan na nagmamaneho ng pampublikong sasakyan. Hindi tayo magiging burden sa kanila," he added.

[Translation: We commit to release the exemption today. We will not allow it to take a long time because drivers of public utility vehicles really need it. We will not be a burden to them.]

Garcia also said all forms of assistance for the public would be approved immediately

"Basta lahat ng klase ng social service na makakatulong sa ating mga kababayan, kahit hindi ko pa nababasa, that will be approved," he said.

[Translation: All kinds of social services that will help the public, even if I have not read them, will be approved.]

In a separate statement, LTFRB chairman Teofilo Guadiz III thanked the Comelec for it swift approval of the petition, as it would allow the payout to those affected by fuel price hikes.

"Batay sa datos ng LTFRB, nai-credit na ang nasabing subsidiya sa 63,864 PUVs sa buong bansa alinsunod sa pagpapatupad ng fuel subsidy program ng pamahalaan sa ilalim ng General Appropriations Act of 2023," their statement read.

[Translation: Based on LTFRB data, the subsidy was credited to 63,864 public utility vehicles nationwide, in accordance with the government's fuel subsidy program under the General Appropriations Act of 2023.]

RELATED: Landbank awaits go signal to resume fuel subsidy distribution

CNN Philippines' Xianne Arcangel and Pia Garcia contributed to this story.