2022 Philippine Elections

Comelec allows LTFRB to resume fuel subsidy program

Dwight de Leon
Comelec allows LTFRB to resume fuel subsidy program

REFUELING. A pump attendant refills a vehicle in Manila on March 9, 2022.

Rappler

The Comelec says the government's fuel subsidy program will be the subject of strict implementation, meaning the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board must fully comply with documentary requirements

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday, April 6, granted the petition filed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) seeking to exempt its fuel subsidy program from the election campaign spending ban.

The commission en banc, which is the Comelec’s decision-making body, said the LTFRB can resume the said project once the poll body comes out with the formal resolution within the week.

“The grant of the petition to LTFRB is subject to the strict implementation of the program, such as the submission of information on how the project will be implemented, the parameters of the implementation, and the specific target beneficiaries, and how they will apply to avail of the grants of the programs,” Commissioner George Garcia announced in a press briefing.

“The Department of Agriculture, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and such other departments…will have to specifically mention the beneficiaries, how and when the project will be implemented, as well as documentation as to the compliance to the implementation before of similar projects,” he added.

The LTFRB on March 15 kicked off its P3-billion Pantawid Pasada program, which sought to provide P6,500 worth of subsidy each to 377,443 drivers of jeepneys, UV Express vans, mini buses, shuttle services, taxis, tricycles, and other full-time ride-hailing services.

The project was the government’s response to skyrocketing fuel prices, although transport groups have demanded a suspension of excise taxes on fuel products.

The LTFRB, however, halted the disbursement of subsidies on March 25, when the local campaign season began.

During the election period, the Comelec compels government offices that run social welfare projects to request from the Comelec a certificate of exception for the continued operations of these initiatives.

The Right to Know, Right Now Coalition had reported that the LTFRB filed its petition with the Comelec only after the 45-day spending prohibition began on March 25. – Rappler.com

Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.