Fuel subsidy for PUV drivers, operators to continue

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 5) — Transport regulators on Tuesday said the government's fuel subsidy program for drivers and operators of public utility vehicles will continue this year.

"Muli nang ipagpapatuloy ng Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ang pamamahagi ng 'Pantawid Pasada' o fuel subsidy sa mga operator at tsuper ng mga pampublikong sasakyan," the agency said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

[Translation: The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board will again continue the distribution of the "Pantawid Pasada" or fuel subsidy to operators and drivers of public utility vehicles.]

In August, the LTFRB said a joint memorandum circular (JMC) was needed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release ₱3 billion in fuel subsidy.

The statement said the JMC had been signed into law to allow the implementation of the Pantawid Pasada Program (PPP).

The one-time subsidy under the 2023 budget comes as only four months are left in the year.

The LTFRB said it is waiting to download the funds from the DBM.

"Ito po ay sa ilalim ng GAA 2023. Once ma-download na po ito ay pwede nang simulan ang pamamahagi ng fuel subsidy. Regarding naman sa guidelines, maglalabas po kami ng PR tungkol dito. Paki-antabayan na lamang po," the agency said.

[Translation: This is under the GAA (General Appropriations Act) of 2023. It will be ready for distribution once downloaded. As for the guidelines, please standby as we will be releasing PR on this.]

"Kabilang sa mga makatatanggap ng subsidiya ang mga kwalipikadong operator ng ilang pampublikong sasakyan tulad ng Public Utility Jeepneys (tradisyunal man o modern), Public Utility Bus, Taxi, UV Express, Delivery Service, at Tricycles,' added the LTFRB.

[Translation: Those eligible to receive the subsidy are qualified operators of some public utility vehicles, such as jeepneys (traditional or modern), buses, taxis, UV express, delivery service, and tricycles.]

The fuel subsidy is expected to benefit 1.6 million public utility vehicle drivers amid consecutive hikes in fuel prices. The most recent increase, which was implemented on Tuesday, saw per-liter prices up by ₱1.20 for diesel and 50 centavos for gasoline. This is the ninth consecutive week of oil price hikes.

Traditional PUVs will receive ₱6.500, modern PUVs will get ₱10,000, while delivery riders will get ₱1,200, and tricycles will receive ₱1,000.

The LTFRB said the subsidy will be distributed to beneficiaries via digital banking services such as e-wallets, bank accounts, or the Fuel Subsidy Card, which can be used in some gasoline stations.

It said the subsidy should only be used for fuel products and not for other purposes.

"Dapat si driver, tantiyado niya kung ilang biyahe niya pwedeng gamitin si 6.5 (thousand). Dapat nag-uusap si driver at operator. In case walang naramdaman yung driver o walang nareceive na pang fuel o pangkarga sa kanilang pagbiyahe despite the fact na may nareceive namang subsidy, pwedeng mag-file ng complaint si driver," said LTFRB Technical Division chief Joel Bolano.

[Translation: The driver should be able to estimate how far he can use the 6.5. The driver and operator should be in constant communication. In case the driver does not feel or does not receive the amount, despite the subsidy, the driver can file a complaint.]

In 2022, the Duterte administration provided fuel subsidy to around 300,000 beneficiaries.

CNN Philippines' Gerg Cahiles and Pia Garcia contributed to this story.