PUV fuel subsidy program exempted from poll spending ban
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has exempted the fuel subsidy program for public utility vehicles (PUVs) along with other transportation projects from the 2023 barangay and sangguniang kabataan elections (BSKE) spending ban.
In a memorandum dated Sept. 20, Comelec Chairman George Garcia approved the recommendation of then Comelec Law Department to exempt the Department of Transportation and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s Fuel Subsidy Program, PUV Service Contracting Program and PUV Modernization Program.
The Comelec said the petition to exempt the programs was filed by the DOTr on Tuesday.
Before Garcia’s approval, the Comelec’s Law Department recommended the support of the petition provided that it would not influence the conduct of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on October 30.
The said programs should also not involve any distribution of Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) from Oct. 20 to 30, except those given to qualified individuals such as, but not limited to, basic needs in the form of food, transportation, medical, educational, burial, and other similar assistance.
Furthermore, the Certificate of Exemption for the programs shall also not prevent the conduct of preliminary investigation in cases where the prohibited acts described in Section 261(0) of the OEC occur.
With the programs’ exemption, the LTFRB and the Land Bank of the Philippines may now resume the distribution of fuel subsidies to over one million PUV drivers and operators.
In a later statement, the LTFRB officially announced the resumption of the PUV fuel subsidy program.
“Nagpapasalamat po kami sa agarang aksyon ng Comelec sa aming petisyon at sa pang-unawa ng publiko lalo na ng ating mga stakeholder na naapektuhan ng pansamantalang delay sa pamamahagi ng fuel subsidy,” said LTFRB Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III.
(We thank the Comelec for its prompt action on our petition and the understanding of the public, especially our stakeholders who were affected by the temporary delay in the distribution of fuel subsidy.)
“Tiyak naman po na magiging tuloy-tuloy na ang pamimigay natin ng fuel subsidy para makatulong sa ating mga stakeholder dulot ng oil price hike,” dagdag pa nito.
(We will continue giving out fuel subsidies to help our stakeholders due to the oil price increase.)
The LTFRB said it has so far distributed the fuel subsidy to 63,864 PUV drivers and operators.