SENATOR Nancy Binay urged the Department of Budget and Management to immediately release funds for the provision of fuel subsidy to the public transport sector.
This, as public utility drivers are feeling the heat with a steady rise in oil prices for the seventh week in a row now.
“Umaaray na po ang ating mga public transport sector workers. Ngayon pa nga lang sana sila babangon muli dahil matagal silang natengga dahil sa pandemya, nanganganib pa dahil sa patuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng langis,” Binay said.
According to Budget Undersecretary Tina Rose Marie L. Canda, the Dubai crude benchmark used as basis for the release of funds for the fuel subsidy program of the 2022 General Appropriations Act had already been breached. As well, the agency had already received the request of both the Department of Transportation and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board for its release.
The DBM, however, is still waiting for an additional requirement from the Department of Transportation hence it still cannot release the subsidy.
Under the General Appropriations Act of 2022, the fuel subsidy program’s funds can only be released when the average Dubai crude oil price based on the Mean of Platts Singapore reaches or exceeds $80 per barrel for three consecutive months.
The senator appealed for compassion and greater urgency from the national government.
“Kung iisang dokumento na lang pala ang hinihintay and the rest of the criteria for the release of aid is already fulfilled, sana i-release na. Napaka-urgent ng isyu na ito at kailangan ng agarang resolusyon,” Binay said.
“Sana tayo ang mag-adjust. From the DOTR’s side, ayusin sa lalong madaling panahon ang mga kulang na papeles. Nakikiusap rin tayo sa DBM na i-assess kung talaga bang magpapapigil tayo sa additional na requirement at hindi hahanap ng solusyon,” the lawmaker added.
The fuel subsidy program had been allocated P2.5 billion under the 2022 budget, which would provide aid in the form of vouchers to public utility, taxi, tricycle and full-time ride-hailing delivery service drivers nationwide as identified and validated by the LTFRB.
Another P500 million was also set aside for fuel discounts to farmers and fisherfolk under the Department of Agriculture.
The LTFRB said that 377,443 beneficiaries will receive P6,500 each for fuel subsidy.