MANILA The chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means on Thursday revealed that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is proposing to increase the amount of government fuel subsidy from PHP5,000 to PHP20,000 per jeepney franchise holder next year.
Quirino Rep. Dakila Carlo Cua, the panel chairman, made the statement following the rollout of the Pantawid Pasada program for public utility jeepney (PUJ) operators and drivers to mitigate the impact of recent oil price hikes and higher excise taxes due to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
Cua said the increase in fuel subsidy requires at least PHP5 billion.
Currently, the government has allocated a total budget of PHP977 million for the program this year.
The launch of the Pantawid Pasada is a welcome development at a time when prices remain elevated. The government fuel subsidy will provide our drivers and operators with some breathing room. I'm looking forward to the 2019 budget deliberations and how we can increase the assistance government provides, Cua said.
The more difficult task is setting up a system for delivering fuel subsidies. Today's launch is an important first step. Once all qualified beneficiaries have received their card, the government can respond faster to drastic changes in world oil prices by topping up the card, said Cua.
Under the TRAIN law, a social welfare benefit program will be implemented to provide fuel vouchers to qualified PUJ franchise holders.
The fuel subsidy will cover the incremental increases on the excise tax on diesel under the TRAIN law, which imposes an excise tax of PHP2.50 per liter for 2018.
The program will provide a PHP5,000 subsidy to each of the 179,852 legitimate PUJ franchise holders this year.
Debit cards will be provided to the beneficiaries, which shall be processed by the Land Bank of the Philippines.
The government is aiming to distribute around 10,000 cards for the initial implementation.
The distribution of cards started Thursday at the Land Transportation Office central office in Quezon City. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency