A lawmaker called on the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to immediately release the earmarked P5 billion worth of fuel subsidies to mitigate the effect of runaway fuel prices on public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and operators.
In filing House Resolution 2515, San Jose del Monte City Representative Florida Robes said the unabated oil price surges would further burden the “already long-suffering public utility drivers” who have yet to recover from the “ill-effects” of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Some P5 billion worth of fuel subsidies listed as unprogrammed appropriation under the 2022 General Appropriations Act.”
Robes said there is some P5 billion worth of fuel subsidies listed as unprogrammed appropriation under the 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA), which can only be accessed if government revenue collection exceeds the revenue target.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it just released P3 billion — P2.5 billion for the public transport sector and P500 million for farmers and fisherfolk — worth of fuel subsidy. Some 377,443 beneficiaries are eligible for the fuel subsidy.
The Cabinet’s Economic Development Cluster has recommended increasing the transport sector’s subsidy from P2.5 billion to P5 billion.
“The DoTR and the LTFRB are tasked to issue the fuel subsidies. However, it is taking some time to release the assistance supposedly due to certain requirements needed from drivers,” the legislator said in her resolution.
“The exponential increase in oil prices has created an extraordinary situation for PUV drivers that need immediate and decisive action from the government.”
The lady lawmaker said the exponential increase in oil prices has created an extraordinary situation for PUV drivers that need immediate and decisive action from the government, particularly the DOTr and LTFRB.
“The DOTr and LTFRB should be mindful of the exigency of the situation and proceed with dispatch the immediate release of the fuel subsidy in order to give reprieve to our public utility drivers who are still reeling from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she stressed.
Robes said the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the past weeks has raised the prices of crude oil to more than $110 per barrel in the world market which has led to an exponential increase of local prices of petroleum products by P3.60 on gasoline per liter, P5.85/l on diesel, P4.10/l on kerosene and P3 per kilogram for liquefied petroleum gas recently.
She said the price of crude oil has ballooned to more than $120 per barrel prompting another round of price increase recently in the local market, noting that diesel has gone up by more than P13 per liter while gasoline is higher with an additional P7 per liter increase.