THE fuel subsidy program of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for the affected public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers and operators is being lobbied in Congress to be extended until 2022.

LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said during the Fuel Subsidy Program launching at a gasoline station in Davao City on Wednesday afternoon, December 1, that separate bills were already filed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate for an additional budget for the fuel subsidy program.

“Naay pagduso on both Houses kay nakita nila nga magpadayon ang pandemya. Nakita nila nga dunay pag-usbaw sa presyo [sa gasolina]... Naa’y proposal nga ipadayon ni sa sunod nga tuig,” Delgra said.

(There is a proposal filed in both Houses since they saw that the pandemic is likely to continue. They saw there is an increase in fuel prices. There is a proposal to continue the subsidy program next year.)

The fuel subsidy program is a one-time subsidy to provide financial assistance to PUJ franchisees and operators due to the recent hike in oil prices amid the pandemic. The program covers PUJs, Filcabs, and even modern jeepneys that require fuel. Each unit will be given P7,200 each.

The national government allocated P1 billion for the subsidy program for 136,000 beneficiaries nationwide.

This is in compliance with the provision of the Republic Act No. 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Law for all operating and valid franchise grantees for PUJs and filcabs.

LTFRB-Davao Director Nonito Llanos said that more than 7,500 PUJ drivers and operators in Davao Region are qualified beneficiaries for the fuel subsidy.

Llanos said as of present, around 3,000 PUJs had already been given cards, while the remaining have yet to receive their cards this week and can be claimed at the LTFRB-Davao Region office.

Delgra, meanwhile, said the cards should only be used exclusively to pay for fuel purchases.

“Ampinga ang tabang na gihatag sa inyoha sa gobyerno sa paggamit sa tama sa maong card,” the official said.

(Use properly the assistance provided by the government by using the card based on its purpose.)

He added that the card may be blocked if this would be used for other purposes, while operators will be issued with a “show cause” order.

The current fuel subsidy program is part of the Pantawid Pasada Program (PPP) since it was launched in 2018.

In addition to the fuel subsidy, Delgra also said that his office is lobbying for the increase of the maximum seating capacity from 50 percent to 70 percent to help affected drivers and operators financially recover from their losses. (RGL)