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LTFRB suspends fuel subsidy distribution due to election ban

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LTFRB suspends fuel subsidy distribution due to election ban
"We had to temporarily suspend the disbursement...which took effect last March 25," LTFRB Executive Director Maria Kristina Cassion said in an interview over GMA Network's "Unang Balita" on Monday.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board said Monday that it is temporarily halting the fuel subsidy distribution for PUV (public utility vehicle) operators and drivers due to the public works ban ahead of the elections.

The ban will take effect from March 25 to May 8, Commission on Elections earlier said. During this period, any form of disbursement, spending and construction activities is prohibited.

"We had to temporarily suspend the disbursement...which took effect last March 25," LTFRB Executive Director Maria Kristina Cassion said in an interview over GMA Network's "Unang Balita" on Monday.

"We have an application with Comelec for an exemption and there was a hearing. Right now, we are just waiting for the results of our application for exemption sa ban so we can continue distribution," she added.

As of March 29, some 110,287 beneficiaries have already received their subsidiaries. 

A certificate of exemption is needed to implement social welfare projects and services during the public works ban, the poll body said in its Resolution No. 10747. 

According to an Inquirer.net report, the Office of the Vice President and Department of Social Welfare and Development are among the agencies exempted from the public spending ban.

While waiting for the exemption, LTFRB and Land Bank of the Philippines are focusing on the production of fuel cards in various denominations, according to Cassion.

In a Laging Handa briefing on Monday, Comelec Commissioner George Erwin Garcia said LTFRB's application is undergoing review, and that the poll body will have its decision by this Thursday. 

In a separate statement, Sen. Grace Poe urged Comelec to fast-track LTFRB's appeal as consumers continue to bear the impacts of high fuel prices, which have been increasing since the start of the year due to developments affecting the global oil market, including the war which Russia waged over Ukraine. Oil firms decided to roll back fuel prices twice this year, but the price reductions were still not able to offset the weekly price increases since the start of 2022.

"We cannot tell our people to hold on for relief until the elections are over. Hunger simply cannot wait," Poe said in a statement on the Senate's website. — Angelica Y. Yang

COMELEC

FUEL

FUEL PRICES

GEORGE GARCIA

GRACE POE

LTFRB

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