THE government launched on Wednesday its fuel subsidy 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.
The Department of Transportation, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Department of Budget and Management, Department of Energy and the Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) have signed a joint memorandum circular on the Pantawid Pasada Program.
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 LBP.
The government is aiming to distribute around 10,000 cards for the initial implementation.
The distribution of cards will start on Thursday, July 12, at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) central office in Quezon City.
“In the next few weeks it will be rolled out at all LTFRB regional offices nationwide. We will be doing the distribution simultaneously across the country,” LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said in a press briefing.
“Jeepney franchise holders need only to present their proof of identity na sila yung operator kasi pre-determined na sila sa listahan na binigay namin sa Landbank (that they are the operators because they are already pre-determined on the list that we provided to Landbank),” he added.
LBP president Alex Buenaventura said the PUJ operators and drivers will be able to receive PHP833 per month. Beneficiaries will be made to sign a deed of undertaking that the debit cards must only be used for purchases of petroleum products at gasoline stations.
“Yung ating undertaking says na kapag ginamit eto nang hindi sa gasoline stations, for example ginamit nila samall or grocery stores, automatic delisted sila sa program (Our undertaking says that if the cards will be used not on the gas stations but in malls or grocery stores they will be automatically delisted from the program). The transactions will be monitored on our database,” Buenaventura said.
A budget of PHP977 million will be allocated to the fuel subsidy program for the next six months of 2018. For next year, around PHP3.86 billion will be allocated to provide a PHP20,515 yearly subsidy, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said.
Diokno said the fuel subsidy will cover the incremental increases on the excise tax on diesel under the TRAIN law. The law has imposed an excise tax of PHP2.50 per liter on diesel for 2018.
The subsidy program is in accordance with Section 82 of Republic Act 10963 or the TRAIN law, which calls for the provision of fuel vouchers to qualified PUJ franchise holders.