The government launched yesterday a fuel subsidy program for public utility jeepney operators and drivers to mitigate the impact of recent fuel price hikes and excise taxes due to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
Negros Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson yesterday said he believes government should suspend the imposition of the second phase of the TRAIN excise tax on fuel next year to ease the economic difficulties already being felt by the people.
It’s not right for the country’s economic managers to say the TRAIN, along with the rise in inflation, fuel prices and the depreciation of the peso “have very little impact because that is not true,” he said.
Definitely the general public can feel the impact of what is happening in the economy, he said.
He said he is hoping that what the economic managers are saying that this will taper off in the coming months will happen.
Lacson said he does not think the country’s economic managers anticipated the depreciation of the peso and the rise in fuel prices, “because if it is just the TRAIN law, it would have very little impact”.
The Department of Transportation, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Energy and the Landbank of the Philippines 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 today 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 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.
“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.*PNA/CPG
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