Poe wants faster distribution of ‘Pantawid Pasada’ cards to beneficiaries
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Grace Poe criticized on Thursday the sluggish distribution of the “Pantawid Pasada” fuel cards to jeepney franchise holders, which is meant to cushion the effects of the increase in fuel prices due to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.
“Matatapos na ang taon pero tila kulang na kulang pa rin ang ayudang ibinibigay ng gobyerno sa mga tsuper,” Poe, chair of the Senate public services committee, said in a statement.
“Bagamat bumababa na ngayon ang presyo ng petrolyo, ang laki na ng nalugi sa kanila dahil sa sunod-sunod na pagtaas nung nakaraan. Dapat naman sanang ibigay na ‘yan nang wala nang kondisyon dahil kasama ‘yan sa batas,” she added.
(Although the prices of petroleum products already went down, the drivers were shortchanged during the recent series of oil price hike. We should give this to them without any condition because it is included in the law.)
During the marathon debates for the proposed budget of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) earlier this week, Poe learned that only a third or equivalent to P345 million of this year’s P977-million budget for fuel subsidy intended for jeepney drivers and operators have so far been distributed by the government.
Only 69,065 “Pantawid Pasada” cards containing P5,000 subsidy each have been distributed to drivers and operators, out of a total of 171,836 recipients.
In explaining the delay, DOTr officials said the franchise holder was out of the country, transfer of franchise was not reflected in their database, or either the franchise holder was dead or ill.
“Matagal na dapat ginawa ito, dapat i-update ang listahan ng mga benepisyaryo dahil wala pa sa kalahati ang nabibigyan kahit may bago na namang nakaambang pagtaas ng presyo ng petrolyo bunsod ng panibagong excise taxes sa susunod na taon,” Poe lamented.
(They should have done this a long time ago. They should have updated the list of beneficiaries because it was less than half of them who were given the cards as there is another round of oil price hike due to the new excise taxes next year.)
The TRAIN law imposed a P3 tax for every liter of kerosene, P2.50 for every liter of diesel and bunker fuel, and P1 for every kilogram of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Next year, excise taxes will increase to P4 for kerosene, P4.50 for diesel, P9 for gasoline, and P2 for LPG.
Under Section 82 of TRAIN Law, qualified jeepney franchise holders are entitled to fuel vouchers as prices of fuel are expected to increase.
For 2019, the fuel subsidy will increase to P20,514 or P1,709 per month for every beneficiary, compared with the P5,000 subsidy for this year.
“Sana naman ibigay na nang mabilisan sa susunod na taon at wala nang dahilan pa para ma-delay ang paghatid ng nararapat na ayuda para sa mga tsuper at operator,” Poe added.
(I hope they would expedite the distribution of these cards next year and no more delay in the delivery of the needed assistance to our drivers and operators.) /jpv
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