Senator Sonny Angara sees the government’s provision of fuel subsidies to the transportation sector as a critical intervention to assist operators and drivers in dealing with rising fuel prices.
The General Appropriations Act makes a total of P3 billion available this year for transportation fuel subsidies, which will benefit 1.36 million individuals.
The fuel subsidy initiative will offer P10,000 to each driver of modernized public utility vehicles (PUVs), P6,500 to drivers of traditional four-wheel PUVs, P1,200 to delivery riders, and P1,000 to tricycle drivers.
“With pump prices going up for 11 straight weeks, the PUV drivers have to bear the additional costs and deal with lower incomes. This could mean more hours on the road and less food on the tables of their families,” said Angara, who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance.
The executive branch has proposed P2.5 billion for fuel subsidies to the transportation sector in the 2024 National Expenditure Program.
In the instance of the 2023 GAA, Angara noted that Malacañang offered the same P2.5 billion, but Congress increased it by P500 million.
Angara stated that now that the Commission on Elections has officially exempted the distribution of fuel subsidies from the spending ban during this election period for the 2023 barangay and SK polls, there should be no reason to delay the full implementation of the fuel subsidy program.
The Department of Agriculture was given P500 million for the fuel assistance program in 2022. This was increased to P1 billion this year, and the same amount has been recommended for the program in 2024.