Gov’t studying fuel subsidy for public transport sector

Published May 5, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling

The government is studying the proposed fuel subsidy program for the public transport sector affected by the quarantine restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a press briefing in Malacañang on April 20, 2018. (YANCY LIM/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has recommended granting fuel subsidy amounting to 30 percent of the daily petroleum consumption of public utility drivers and operators to ease their burden.

The fuel subsidy program is part of the DOTr’s proposed economic stimulus package for the public transport sector which has been allowed to resume operations in general community quarantine areas.

“Ang mga sumusunod naman po na rekomendasyon ng Department of Transportation na maghanap po tayo ng paraan para bigyan ng suporta ang ating mga tsuper. Uulitin ko po: pag-aaralan pa lang po iyong rekomendasyon na magbigay ng fuel subsidy para po doon sa ating transportation sector (The Department of Transportation made the following recommendations to find ways to support our drivers. I repeat, the recommendation to give fuel subsidy to the transportation sector is still under study),” Roque said during a virtual press briefing Tuesday.

“Hindi pa po naaprubahan iyan. Pag-aaralan po iyong rekomendasyon na iyan (It has not yet been approved. The recommendation will still be studied),” he added.

Apart from the fuel subsidy proposal, Roque said the transportation department has also recommended loan arrangements as well as deferment of amortization payment to financing institutions without interest for the public transport sector.

The government had earlier allowed passenger buses, jeepneys, UV express, and taxis, and tricycles to resume operations at reduced capacity in areas under general community quarantine. Public transportation, on the other hand, remains prohibited in places under enhanced community quarantine.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade recently proposed the stimulus package for PUV drivers and operators as they start to resume operations in GCQ areas in the country. Tugade said the fuel subsidy proposal will help PUV operators and driver to defray the cost of their operations and mitigate the loss of income.

Based on government records, around 534,767 road transport employees have been affected by the suspension of public transportation during the quarantine period.