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Gov't approves distribution of P803 monthly fuel vouchers to PUJs

Ian Nicolas Cigaral - Philstar.com
Gov't approves distribution of P803 monthly fuel vouchers to PUJs
Also known as the “Pantawid Pasada Program,” the measure aims to cover 179,852 units or 100 percent of public utility jeepney units with existing franchises.
Philstar.com / File

MANILA, Philippines — Top government officials on Wednesday greenlighted the implementation of a fuel subsidy program to help jeepney operators and drivers weather higher oil prices stoked by the Duterte administration’s tax reform law.

Also known as the “Pantawid Pasada Program,” the measure aims to cover 179,852 units or 100 percent of public utility jeepneys with existing franchises.

The government plans to give fuel vouchers to all qualified beneficiaries within two years upon execution of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law, which slapped higher excise taxes on oil. The TRAIN law took effect last January 1.

For the remaining six months of 2018, jeepney drivers and operators will receive around P803 in monthly fuel subsidy. Next year, the amount will be bumped up to P1,710 monthly.

Speaking to reporters, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the fuel subsidy program would be implemented on top of a special discount to PUV operators that oil companies have agreed to give.

Cusi also expressed the hope that transport operators will no longer seek another round of fare hike.

Inflation accelerated to a fresh five-year high of 5.2 percent in June from May’s 4.6 percent, beating both government and market expectations. Year-to-date, inflation averaged 4.3 percent, above the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ 2-4 percent target range.

The central bank has admitted it might miss its target as inflation is projected to average 4.5 percent in 2018, amid risks posed by “second-round” pressures from expected higher minimum wages and public transport fares.

Last week, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board signed the order granting the P1 provisional fare hike for public utility vehicles in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Calabarzon.  

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the Pantawid Pasada Program would have “minimal” impact on inflation expectations.

PANTAWID PASADA PROGRAM TAX REFORM FOR ACCELERATION AND INCLUSION ACT (TRAIN)
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