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DBM plans additional fuel subsidies for PUV drivers, agriculture sector in April

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DBM plans additional fuel subsidies for PUV drivers, agriculture sector in April
Passengers pictured at Tandang Sora Jeep Terminal in Visayas Avenue, Quezon City on Oct. 19, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Budget and Management said public utility drivers and the agricultural sector may receive another round of fuel subsidies in April. 

However, the department said it does not know exactly when the P200 monthly aid for poor Filipino households will be distributed.

"We will be providing another P2.5 billion para sa mga drivers ng PUV, tsaka ‘yung TODA (Tricycle Operators and Drivers' Association) and vans, and mga delivery," DBM officer-in-charge Undersecretary Tina Rose Marie Canda told ABS-CBN’s "TeleRadyo Balita" on Sunday.

(We will be providing another P2.5 billion for PUV drivers, those part of TODA and vans, and delivery personnel.) 

Canda said the first round of aid for drivers worth P6,500 each was already released to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board. The LTFRB has accounted for over 377,000 drivers who will be receiving fuel subsidy packages.

For the next round of fuel subsidies, Canda said the allocation per driver might change if the LTFRB’s population count is updated with changes.

"Tapos meron ding additional P500 million na fuel discount para sa agriculture sector kasi para hindi masyadong sumipa ang pagtaas ng bilihin," Canda added.

(Then there will be an additional P500 million fuel discount for the agricultural sector so commodity prices don’t suddenly spike.)

Farmers and fisherfolk can claim the fuel discount of up to P3,000 via a fuel discount card (FDC) issued with the Development Bank of the Philippines.

Monthly subsidies for families

Meanwhile, over P33 billion will be allotted for cash aid for the bottom 50% of Filipino families. 

Under the program, each household will receive P200 monthly for a year in a bid to assist them with the effects of the rising fuel prices. The amount was met with criticism from groups and even lawmakers as families cannot live on only P200 each month.

READ: 'A pittance': Senators criticize P200 monthly ayuda for poor families 

The distribution of the cash aid would depend on the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Canda said she cannot guarantee the P200 monthly subsidy for families will be raised as the funds used are based on how much the Department of Finance can collect. She also added that the DBM is not sure when the cash aid will be disbursed.

"It will depend on the certification ng Treasury na nakapasok na ito sa collection nila as additional or excess revenue," Canda said. 

(It will depend on the Treasury department’s certification if this has been accounted for in their additional or excess revenues.)

Last week, Energy Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza said there may be diesel and gas price rollbacks, down by P12 and P6 per liter respectively based on the lower oil prices in the global market.

DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT

LAND TRANSPORTATION FRANCHISING AND REGULATORY BOARD

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