Reactivation of fuel subsidy scheme pushed
The government must reactivate the fuel subsidy scheme dubbed Pantawid Pasada Program for a P914-million effort to provide relief to the public transport sector and cushion the impact of high fuel prices on the commuters, according to Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.
Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate energy committee, also called on the Department of Energy (DOE) to monitor the compliance of oil companies on their inventory requirements, to ensure adequate supply and help mitigate further price increases in the coming months.
Last Tuesday, local oil firms raised pump prices for the seventh week in a row. This brought the increases to a total of P7.15 per liter for diesel and P5.40 for gasoline.
Considering this, Gatchalian said fuel expenses shouldered by operators and drivers of public utility vehicles might rise by an average of P1,422.50 a month if using gasoline and by P598.36 if using diesel.
“To cover for the three-month subsidy of the estimated 178,244 valid franchise holders of public utility jeepneys nationwide, the government will have to shell out at least P914.1 million, Gatchalian said.
“The situation may worsen not only because of the approaching winter [when global oil prices rise seasonally due to high demand], but because many economies around the world are slowly opening up,” the lawmaker said.
“Thus, we expect oil prices to continuously increase up to the end of the year,” he added.
The Pantawid Pasada was mpleimented in 2018 and 2019 as prices spiked, covering drivers and owners of about 180,000 jeepneys with franchises.
The Department of Transportation headed the program’s implementation in collaboration with the DOE, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management and the Landbank of the Philippines.
Beneficiaries each received P5,000 in 2018 and P20,500 in 2019. Using debit cards, they paid for fuel purchases in select fuel stations of various participating oil companies.
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