The Philippine government's economic cluster on Monday backed the release of fuel subsidies for public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and said they would release P1 billion for the program amid the continuous increase in pump prices of petroleum products.
In a joint statement, the inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) said it woud release P1 billion to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for cash grants to PUV drivers.
The amount is expected to cover 178,000 PUV drivers for the remaining months of the year, which will be distributed using the system established under the Pantawid Pasada Program.
“We, the members of the Development Budget Coordination Committee, are committed to supporting our transportation sector, amidst the increasing oil prices,” the joint statement read.
The funds are set to be charged against the unprogrammed appropriations under the support for infrastructure projects and social programs of fiscal year 2021.
Transport groups over the weekend said they agreed to delay their planned fare hike petition, citing fuel subsidies to be given by the government.
The LTFRB earlier this month said it was looking into the possibility of a second phase of its cash and fuel subsidy programs for public utility vehicles.
The Department of Energy (DOE) last week also said it was studying how it could tap the excise taxes collected under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law to fund the fuel subsidies.
Pump prices were hiked for the past nine straight weeks, with the latest data available indicating year-to-date adjustments at a total net increase of P19.65 per liter for gasoline, P18.00 per liter for diesel, and P15.49 per liter for kerosene as of October 19, 2021. — DVM, GMA News