By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is considering the extension of the deadline for the distribution of fuel cards under the government’s Pantawid Pasada Program (PPP) because only about half of the cash cards have been claimed so far.
LTFRB Chairman Atty. Martin Delgra III bared that the Board was already discussing an extended period of the PPP fuel cards distribution.
“There is a need to do a deadline. The TWG (technical working group) is actually suggessting that there would be a deadline at least, in so far as the 2018 distribution is concern,” Delgra said.
LTFRB has originally set a deadline of until February 28 for the qualified PUJ operators to claim their fuel subsidy card, but Delgra said that it was too close and might be extended.
“Sa ngayon seryoso na yung deadline kasi umabot na doon sa punto na mukhang kailangan nang tuldukan. Hindi lang natin malaman kung kailan,” he explained.
Delgra also warned that once the final deadline is set, there will no longer be any extension, and those who will not claim their cash cards will forfeit their P5,000 subsidy for 2018.
“That will be the consequence. Hindi na nila makukuha ang P5,000 for 2018,” he added.
But the LTFRB chairman explained that PUJ operators may still avail of the fuel cards containing a much higher subsidy for 2019 once the distribution started.
According to Delgra, each driver-operator beneficiary is set to receive more than P20,000 for this year’s subsidy once the national budget is approved.
Under the program, which is one of the government’s flagship social mitigation measures, fuel vouchers in the form of cash cards will be provided to legitimate franchise holders of PUJs to help them cope with increasing pump prices brought by the tax reform law.
The fuel cards were processed by the Land Bank of the Philippines and funded through the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
In a February 2019 data from the LTFRB, more than 87,000 cards have already been distributed to qualified franchise holders across the country out of the 173,000 national target of beneficiaries.
Delgra said they were hoping that the numbers would still increase in the following days as LTFRB personnel have already embarked on an information campaign to help beneficiaries claim their cards.
According to the LTFRB chief, there were a number of factors as to why a lot of PUJ operators were not able to claim their subsidy.
“What I can share is what our people is actually doing on the ground. Talagang babad na doon, tumatawag na mismo kung talagang mayrooong contact numbers yung mga operators talagang tinatawagan na, pinupuntahan na yung mga PUJ terminals to give out flyers,” he said.
“Ganoon na po kalawak at kadetalye ‘yung engagement namin kung paano namin nirereach out yung mga prospective PUJ operators,” Delgra added.
The Board is yet to announce when the distribution of the 2019 fuel subsidy will begin as it is still awaiting the approval of this year’s budget.