MANILA A leader of the House of Representatives on Wednesday called for the expansion of the Pantawid Pasada Program to include operators of transport network vehicle service (TNVS) with expected fuel price hikes seen due to the recent drone attacks on government-run oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.
In a statement, House Deputy Speaker Michael Romero said also included in his proposal to expand the coverage of the government's fuel subsidy program are drivers of commuter taxis, and freight forwarding cargo trucks.
Romero said the funds that will cover the additional beneficiaries of the Expanded Pasada program would be sourced from the Malampaya fund, which has a reported balance of PHP198 billion.
Romero said his House Resolution No. 349, also calls for the establishment of a national strategic fuel reserve to address energy crises such as fuel shortage.
The implementation of the Philippine Strategic Fuel Reserves (PSFR) program would be funded through the Malampaya fund.
[This] will cushion the economic impact of the sharp rise in oil prices triggered by the drone strikes at Saudi Aramco's oil processing facilities in Saudi Arabia, Romero said.
Romero said HR 349 grants President Rodrigo Duterte the authority to draw the necessary amount of funds from the Malampaya funds to initially establish the PSFR and implement an expanded Pantawid Pasada cash grants programs.
The proposal also urges the Energy Regulatory Commission to direct oil firms operating in the Philippines to maintain their own fuel reserves at a level sufficient to meet 45 to 60 days of daily consumer demand.
On Tuesday, oil companies have implemented a price hike on gasoline by as much as PHP2.35 per liter, diesel by PHP1.80 per liter and kerosene by PHP1.75 per liter.
These price upticks are results of a similar trend overseas due to supply issues following the drone attacks on government-run oil facilities in Saudi Arabia more than a week ago.
Saudi Arabian authorities, however, said supply is expected to normalize in the near-term.
Meanwhile, the Department of Energy said a team from the DOE met with the proposed members of the Oil Contingency Task Force last Sept. 20 to finalize the draft establishing the inter-agency group that would implement contingency measures vis-A�-vis the impact of supply issues following the drone attract on Aramco facilities.
We realize the importance of addressing issues beforehand so that the government may have contingency measures to sustain the country's economic growth and provide basic services to the people, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in a statement. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency