Lacson questions suspension of fuel subsidies to PUV sector

Independent presidential candidate Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson has questioned the suspension of fuel subsidies to public utility vehicle (PUV) operators and drivers by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) during the election period from March 25 to May 8.

Without a legal basis or precedence, Lacson reckoned that it's unfair to the PUV operators and drivers, as well as drivers of tricycles and regular delivery services hit by the escalating oil prices, to put their fuel subsidy on hold.

"Unless there is jurisprudence along that line, I don’t think the national government should be covered by the election ban on providing social services to our people especially at a time when the prices of fuel continue to go up," he said.

Lacson said the fuel subsidy is a "call of the times", adding the continued rise in the prices of oil threaten to crush those in the transport sector, as well as fisherfolk and farmers.

Also, Lacson strongly urged the Senate to act on the issue by exercising its oversight functions and questioning the basis of the implementing agencies for suspending the subsidy.

Besides, he said the law particularly the General Appropriations Act stipulates that the government provide subsidies to affected sectors.

"Hindi ko ma-reconcile ang vote-buying pagdating sa ganyan (I do not see how that can be construed as vote-buying)," he said, referring to supposed justification for the suspension.