DBM to allocate P3.9B for jeepney fuel subsidy in ’19
Jeepney drivers and operators will receive more than twice the fuel subsidy they are set to get this year after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it would allocate P3.86 billion for the Pantawid Pasada program in 2019.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the proposed budget would provide P20,515 in fuel subsidy a year, or P1,710 per month, to each of about 200,000 beneficiaries in 2019.
“The fuel subsidy will cover the increase in the fuel expenses incurred by our jeepney drivers due to higher excise tax on fuel,” he said.
Fuel prices have escalated following the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act. Under the law, diesel is subjected to an excise tax of P2.50 a liter starting last January. This will go up to P4.50 in 2019 and to P6 in 2020.
Excise tax on gasoline has already risen to P7, which will be raised to P9 in 2019 and to P10 in 2020.
On Wednesday, Diokno and executives of the finance, transport and energy departments signed Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, series of 2018, which rolls out the Pantawid Pasada program.
This year, the program will cover 179,852 jeepney units, or 100 percent of all units, with existing franchise granted by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
For July to December 2018, the program has a budget of P977 million, with each beneficiary receiving P5,000, or P833 per month, through an ATM debit card to be issued by Land Bank of the Philippines.
Beneficiaries will receive their ATM cards starting on Thursday.
Landbank president and CEO Alex Buenaventura said they were targeting to distribute the debit cards to more than 179,000 beneficiaries “within the first three months.”
“If you’re not issued a card this month, in August [when you already have the card] you will receive twice; in September it will be thrice,” he said.
Buenaventura said the beneficiaries would be made to sign an undertaking that the subsidy should only be used for fuel purchases.
“We can monitor … if they swiped their cards on establishments other than gasoline stations,” he said. “If they did, they are automatically delisted from the program.” —With reports from Roselie Mari Villaflor and Kristel Limpot
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