Gatchalian pinpoints problem in Pantawid Pasada distribution

Reelectionist Senator Win Gatchalian on Saturday, April 9 said the lack of an existing database has been the cause of delay in the distribution of the government’s fuel subsidy program.

“Hanggang ngayon ay marami pang hindi nakakakuha ng ayudang ito halos tatlong linggo na mula nang magsimulang mamigay ng Pantawid Pasada (PP) vdahil na rin sa kawalan ng listahan ng mga benepisyaryo (Up to now, many have not received their financial assistance for the past three weeks owing to the lack of a list of beneficiaries). Inabutan na nga ng election ban na lalo pang nagpaantala dito (The election ban has slowed down the PP program),” he lamented.

Gatchalian thus pressed the need for a centralized database which should be prepared by different government agencies and other stakeholders for proper coordination and implementation of the program.

The database should be updated yearly to serve as a guidepost for implementing agencies and ensure that there will be no wastage or misappropriation of government resources, he added.

As of April 4, 2022, only 110,287 out of the 377,443 identified target public utility vehicle (PUV) beneficiaries have received their share of the P6,500 fuel subsidy while fuel cards for the 22,932 PUV beneficiaries are still being processed.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which is tasked to identify those beneficiaries from the delivery services sector, transmitted last March 23 to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) the list of 27,777 intended beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has yet to submit a list of the tricycle driver-beneficiaries.

“Kung gagawin nang pangmatagalan ang Pantawid Pasada program, magkakaroon na ng database ang mga benepisyaryo nito at ipapanukala ko ang pagkakaroon nila ng bank accounts o e-wallets upang masiguro na sa mga intended beneficiaries ilalagak ang pondo at mapapabilis ang pamimigay nito (If government intends to make the PP program to be a continuing project, there should be a database for beneficiaries and I would suggest beneficiaries must be provided bank accounts or e-wallets to make the financial assistance distribution move faster),” the reelectionist senator said.

In institutionalizing the fuel subsidy program, Gatchalian seeks to provide financial support to the domestic public transport sector as a relief mechanism to cushion the adverse effects of sudden and drastic increases in oil prices.

Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, said an initial funding requirement of P1.6 billion should be allocated to the program while the succeeding fund allocation shall be sourced from excess value-added tax (VAT) collection.