September 19, 2023

DBM plans additional fuel subsidies for PUV drivers, agricultural sector in April

MANILA, Philippines — The Ministry of Budget and Management said utility drivers and the agricultural sector could receive another round of fuel subsidies in April.

However, the department said it was not sure when the P200 monthly aid to poor Filipino households would be distributed.

“We will provide an additional 2.5 billion pesos for PUV, tsaka ‘yung TODA (Tricycle Operators and Drivers’ Association) drivers and vans, as well as delivery,” the Undersecretary in in charge of the DBM, Tina Rose Marie Canda. – CBN’s “TeleRadyo Balita” on Sunday.

(We will provide an additional 2.5 billion pesos for PUV drivers, those on TODAs and vans, and delivery personnel.)

Canda said the first round of driver aid worth 6,500 pesos each has already been paid to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board. The LTFRB has represented over 377,000 drivers who will receive fuel subsidies.

For the next round of fuel subsidies, Canda said the per-driver allowance could change if the LTFRB’s population count is updated with the changes.

“Tapos meron of an additional reduction of 500 million pesos on fuel for the agricultural sector can even be useful for health expenses,” Canda added.

(Then there will be an additional 500 million peso rebate on fuel for the agricultural sector so that commodity prices do not suddenly increase.)

Farmers and fishermen can get a fuel discount of up to 3,000 pesos through a Fuel Discount Card (FDC) issued by the Development Bank of the Philippines.

Monthly allowances for families

Meanwhile, more than 33 billion pesos will be allocated in cash assistance for the poorest 50% of Filipino families.

Under the program, each household will receive 200 pesos per month for a year to help them cope with the effects of rising fuel prices. The amount has been criticized by groups and even lawmakers, as families cannot live on just P200 a month.

READ: “A paltry sum”: senators criticize the monthly aid of 200 pesos for poor families

The distribution of cash assistance would depend on the Ministry of Social Welfare and Development.

Canda said she cannot guarantee that the monthly P200 subsidy for families will be raised, as the funds used are based on how much the Ministry of Finance can raise. She also added that DBM does not know when the cash assistance will be disbursed.

“It will depend on Treasury certification as supplementary or surplus income,” Canda said.

(It will depend on the certification of the Treasury Department if this has been taken into account in their additional or surplus income.)

Last week, Energy Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza said there could be a drop in diesel and gasoline prices, down P12 and P6 per liter respectively, due to the drop in oil prices on the world market.