Jeepney drivers, operators to get P20K fuel subsidy in 2019

MANILA -- The government is set to provide fuel subsidies amounting to PHP20,000 to public utility jeepney (PUJ) operators and drivers to mitigate the impact of higher fuel prices due to the imposition of excise taxes under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, a transportation official said Wednesday.

“As we prepare for 2019, the Pantawid Pasada fuel subsidy distribution will continue. As announced, the subsidy will be in the original amount that was proposed which is something like PHP 20,000,” Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman Martin Delgra III said in a press briefing.

The program, launched last July, distributes fuel subsidy cards worth PHP5,000 to around 180,000 PUJ operators and drivers this year.

Each card contains the complete name of the franchise holder, plate number of the PUJ, region where the franchise was registered, and card number. Beneficiaries must sign a deed of undertaking that the subsidy cards will only be used for purchases of petroleum products at gasoline stations.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) earlier said the fuel subsidies worth PHP20,000 will be provided next year.

Latest data from the DOTr and LTFRB show that a total of 67,721 Pantawid Pasada fuel subsidy cards were distributed to jeepney operators and drivers, amounting to some PHP338.61 million.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo announced on Tuesday that President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) to implement higher fuel taxes as petroleum prices continue to decline in the world market.

Under the TRAIN law, the oil excise tax hike may be suspended if oil prices in the world market average USD80 per barrel or higher for three consecutive months.

The current oil price has gone down to USD53 per barrel after reaching a peak of close to USD80 per barrel. (PNA)