Government urged to release P2.5 billion public transport cash subsidy

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
Government urged to release P2.5 billion public transport cash subsidy
Photos show modern jeepneys and traditional jeepneys as they wait for passengers along Escoda Street in Manila on April 13, 2024.
Ryan Baldemor / The Philippine STAR

MANILA, Philippines — The government should release at the soonest the P2.5 billion in fuel cash subsidy to public transport drivers to cushion the impact of high fuel prices, especially with the latest news about heightened tensions in Israel and Iran, a congressman said.

“Assuming the conditions that will trigger the grant of the subsidy have already been met, then we see no reason for any holdups in the distribution of the cash aid,” Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said.

“The 2024 General Appropriations Law clearly provides that the subsidy may be given as soon as the price of Dubai crude oil reaches $80 per barrel for 30 days,” the vice chairperson of the House of Representatives’ committee on appropriations pointed out.

“Congress earmarked the sum of P2.5 billion in the 2024 national budget specifically for the direct fuel subsidies to public utility vehicle drivers, including tricycle, ride-hailing, and delivery service drivers,” Campos revealed.

Upon President Marcos’ initiative, Campos said Congress had shortened the trigger period for the award of the subsidy “precisely to give immediate economic relief to public utility vehicle drivers, including taxi, tricycle, full-time ride-hailing and delivery service drivers.”

“In previous budget laws, the price of Dubai crude oil had to stay at or above $80 per barrel for 90 days before the subsidy would be granted,” he said.

“We are determined to sustain the annual funding for the subsidies to vulnerable sectors, so long as the Dubai crude oil price based on Mean of Platts Singapore has reached $80 per barrel,” Campos vowed.

In 2023, modern jeepney and UV Express drivers received P10,000 each and drivers of other modes of public transport received P6,500 each in subsidies. Delivery riders received P1,200 each and tricycle drivers received P1,000 each. Farmers received P3,000 each.

In the 2024 budget law, driver-beneficiaries must be identified and validated by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

Farmer-beneficiaries must be listed in the Registry System for the Basic Sectors in Agriculture.

The Department of Budget and Management earlier said the P2.5 billion for the Subsidy to Transport Sector Affected by Rising Fuel Prices Program had already been released to the Department of Transportation.

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