Gatchalian urges LTFRB: Speed up distribution of fuel subsidy for public transport sector

Published June 27, 2022, 9:40 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Monday, June 27 called on the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) anew to fast track the distribution of fuel subsidies to targeted beneficiaries of the “Pantawid Pasada” program.

Gatchalian made the call as he vows to pursue the provision of a third tranche of a fuel subsidy program for the transport sector to provide them economic relief from the impact of protracted oil price hikes.

The senator noted that many public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and operators have chosen to stop plying the roads and have lost income due to the unabated increase of fuel.

“The key here is to expedite the release of cash assistance to them because time is of the essence,” said Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy.

The senator earlier said he is eyeing another round of a cash assistance program for PUV drivers amounting to P3,000 per month for the next five months.

He lamented how the distribution of the first tranche of the fuel subsidy for PUV drivers and operators, which was supposed to have been completed within the second week of May, had been marred by delays due to lack of existing database of the intended beneficiaries.

LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra earlier told Gatchalian that it was only this month that they were able to complete the database of qualified and legitimate franchise holders after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) submitted the list of eligible tricycle drivers.

As of June 16, the total credited fuel subsidies stood at 232,586 or 88 percent and the remaining 31,992 was promised by Landbank to be remitted to the account holders this week.

Gatchalian reiterated the need to build payout systems to guarantee the prompt and accurate cash transfers as well as accessibility to the government financial assistance.

Accordingly, eligible PUV driver-beneficiaries were able to receive their subsidies through their existing Pantawid Pasada cash cards while non-cardholders were provided cash cards at designated Landbank branches identified by the LTFRB.