Jeepney drivers start receiving 1 billion pesos in fuel subsidies

An Olongapo town police officer inspects a passenger jeepney to ensure health protocols are being followed. (Photo courtesy of the Olongapo City Information Center)

MANILA, Philippines – More than 136,000 valid utility jeepney (PUJ) franchise holders across the country will receive a one-time fuel subsidy per vehicle to help them cope with soaring fuel prices, said Wednesday the Ministry of Transport (DOTr).

Using an allocation of 1 billion pesos from the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC), the DOTr and the Land Transport Franchising and Regulation Board (LTFRB) will begin distributing fuel cards to beneficiaries. Pantawid Pasada Program (PPP) charged with 7,200 pesos of credit. .

The DOTr said jeepney drivers can use the cards to purchase fuel only at participating petroleum retail outlets or gas stations.

Using the card to purchase other products besides fuel “will automatically disqualify the card owner” from the program.

This was not the first time the government offered fuel subsidies to struggling transport workers. The PPP program was initially implemented in 2018 and 2019 in accordance with the provisions of Republic Law No.10963 or the Tax Reform Law for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN).

Active cards

At a press briefing on Wednesday, LTFRB National Capital Region Director Zona Tamayo said the fuel subsidy would be directly distributed to beneficiaries with valid and existing PPP cards issued by the Land Bank of Philippines.

Some 85,000 beneficiaries have active PPP cards and can immediately redeem their fuel subsidy at branches of nine participating gas companies, Tamayo said.

Landbank uploaded the fuel subsidy to the PPP cards of 78,000 beneficiaries as of Tuesday, she added.

For beneficiaries without a PPP card, the LTFRB said the fuel subsidy would be deposited into the beneficiaries’ Landbank accounts once opened.

Recipients can then claim their PPP cards from designated Landbank branches.

Tax suspension bill

Successive increases in the prices of gasoline, diesel and kerosene last month have prompted transport groups, public vehicle drivers and operators to demand a corresponding increase in tariffs. Lawmakers have also introduced bills to suspend excise duties on petroleum products, citing the domino effect of high petroleum prices on the cost of food and other commodities.

But while oil prices have trended downward for the past three weeks, there is still a need to pass the House bill suspending and reducing excise duties on fuel for six months, the Minister said. Quezon City Representative Jesus Suntay.

Suntay, the deputy majority leader in the House, is one of the authors of Bill 10488 which aims to reduce the excise duties on diesel, kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to zero. Under the bill, taxes on low-octane gasoline, which is often used by trike riders, will be reduced to 4.35 pesos per liter. For premium gasoline, the excise duty is P 7 per liter.

Can still go up

“We still have to move forward… Whether oil prices go down or not, that doesn’t mean we have to stop approval of the measure, which is now at second reading,” Suntay said during a briefing. online press release on Wednesday.

“Although prices have come down in recent weeks, in my opinion, oil prices may rise further, especially as winter is about to begin in America and Europe,” he said. .

Prices for petroleum products have trended downward over the past three weeks, with declines of up to 1.20 pesos per liter for diesel and 85 pesos per liter for gasoline this week. But lawmakers noted that even with the series of setbacks, Dubai’s crude oil price has yet to drop to $ 65 a barrel.

HB 10488 says fuel excise will revert to the normal rate once Dubai crude oil hits $ 65 per barrel.

A similar measure, Senate Bill 2445, was recently introduced by Senator Grace Poe.

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