LAND TRANSPORTATION Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin B. Delgra on Wednesday urged fuel companies to participate in the government’s Pantawid Pasada Program to expand the options for Public Utility Jeepney (PUJ) drivers and operators who will avail of the government’s fuel subsidy.
Mr. Delgra, speaking at the Palace media briefing, said, «Through the Department of Energy (DoE), we are inviting as many gas stations to participate, so that there will be more options for the PUJ operators.»
Currently, the participating companies, according to Mr. Delgra are Shell, Petrol, Caltex, Unioil, and Phoenix.
Mr. Delgra said the challenge now is that not all gas stations of participating companies have point-of-sale (POS) facilities to accommodate the Pantawid Pasada Cards as mode of payment.
“One of the things we had discussed with the DoE during the technical working group committee meeting was precisely to address this issue. We wanted to clarify with them if these participating gas stations have POS,” he said.
Mr. Delgra stressed that the Pantawid Pasada Cards, which are being distributed and monitored by the Landbank of the Philippines (LBP), are for “fuel purposes only.”
“The use of the card has to be consistent with the mechanics of the program. The way to monitor the program is that you have to use that in the participating gas stations for buying fuel. As mentioned in the law, it is for fuel purposes only,” he said.
DoE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi signed last month Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 1, series of 2018, providing the general guidelines for the implementation of the Pantawid Pasada Program.
Mr. Delgra said the pilot distribution of the first 10,000 cards began in Metro Manila last month while the regional distribution started this August. The target end of distribution is “before the end of September” this year.
In a press briefing in July, Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said the program “will cover 179,852 units or 100% of PUJ units with existing LTFRB franchise, within two years upon execution of the TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) Law.”
“On our part, in the DBM (Department of Budget and Management), we will ensure that all the necessary funding, subject to proper documentation, shall be immediately released to ensure the smooth and speedy implementation of this program,” he said.
For the first tranche of the Pantawid Pasada this 2018, Mr. Diokno said the DBM is “allocating P977 million,” which will provide a P5,000 subsidy for the six remaining months to the intended beneficiaries, or about P833 monthly.
For 2019, in the second tranche of the program, the DBM will allocate P3.86 billion. “This will provide a total of P20,514.82 fuel subsidy to the beneficiaries or P1,709.57 monthly,” Mr. Diokno added. — Arjay L. Balinbin