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Fuel subsidy still unclaimed by many PUV drivers

/ 05:15 AM March 30, 2022
traditional jeepney drivers

Jeepney drivers in San Juan City check their vehicles on June 25, 2020, as they prepare to ply their route. (File photo by GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — With fuel prices again on the rise, many public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers say they have yet to receive the subsidy promised by the government which is now on its second week of distribution.

On Tuesday, three transport groups said most of their members were still waiting for the fuel subsidy with the Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Fejodap) blaming it on the stringent requirements set by the government, particularly for those who bought a PUV franchise from another operator.

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New operators claiming the fuel subsidy must present to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), among other requirements, two government-issued ID cards, a special power of attorney from the previous operator and the PUV franchise, according to Fejodap president Ricardo Rebaño.

After submitting the requirements, the LTFRB will issue a QR (quick-response) code to the new operator who can then proceed to a Landbank branch to apply for the subsidy. “A lot of our members, especially the drivers, are still waiting in vain for the fuel subsidy because of these difficult requirements,” he told the Inquirer, estimating that 60 to 70 percent of their members had yet to get the much-awaited relief promised by the government.

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The fuel subsidy will be given in two tranches after the government allocated P5 billion for the program to help PUV drivers cope with rising prices of fuel products and basic commodities.

Although it would be a big boost for transport workers, Rebaño said the subsidy would not be enough.

“What we are asking is for the government to bring back the P1 provisional fare increase [for minimum fare] and for them to temporarily suspend the fuel excise tax, which is a burden to all of us,” he added.

Transport groups Manibela and Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper and Operator Nationwide (Piston) share Rebaño’s sentiments.

“We just hope that the government will be considerate with the requirements for the fuel subsidy,” Piston national president Modesto Floranda said.

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