The Marcos administration’s plan to continue its predecessor’s fuel subsidy program for the public transportation sector will be funded by taxes collected from petroleum products, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Wednesday.
On Tuesday, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said his Cabinet discussed the funding for the continuation of the fuel subsidies.
The President vowed not only to continue the fuel subsidies for the public transport sector but to expand it to include the tricycles.
“This would be funded from the windfall tax from fuel oil,” Diokno said.
“‘Yung pagtaas ng presyo ng gasolina, ibabalik sa taumbayan in the form of targeted subsidy. ‘Yung mas apektado sila ang makakakuha nito,” he added.
(The increase in the prices of fuel will be returned to the public in the form of targeted subsidy. Those who are most affected will get it.)
Data from the Department of Finance (DOF) as of late May showed that the government has so far collected around P440 billion in excise tax and import duties.
“The distribution of the first tranche of fuel subsidy worth P6,500 for public utility vehicle operators and drivers is expected to be completed in the first week of July. This is the Duterte subsidy scheme, the P6,500,” Diokno said.
Divided into two equal tranches, the government’s P5 billion fuel subsidy program aims to extend P6,500 cash grants to each of the 377,000 beneficiaries, including LTFRB-supervised PUV drivers and operators, tricycle drivers and operators under the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and delivery riders under the Department of Trade and Industry.
The fuel subsidy program had served as a stopgap measure instead of a sought-for minimum fare hike increase amid soaring oil prices.
“Considering that oil prices are expected to remain elevated in the near term, the government will expedite the release of the second tranche of subsidies for the transport sector. In other words, President Marcos will continue the fuel subsidy that was put in place by the former President Duterte,” Diokno said.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) earlier said that the rollout of the second tranche of the P5-billion fuel subsidy program for public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and operators is set for late this month or early July.
To ease the impact of rising inflation, the Finance chief said that apart from continuing the grant of fuel subsidy to the affected sectors, “the other measure is we will continue the importation of products which are in short supply as had been done before.”
“Of course, we will try to improve the transportation and logistics sectors,” Diokno said.
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that inflation - the rate of increase in the prices of goods and services - quickened to 6.1% in June from 5.4% in May and the downwardly revised 3.7% in June 2021.
This is also the fastest inflation print since the 6.9% recorded in October 2018 and the same reading seen in November 2018. — RSJ, GMA News