MANILA, Philippines – Jeepney drivers across the Philippines started receiving P5,000 in fuel subsidy from the government on Tuesday, August 28.
Around 179,000 drivers and operators will benefit from the Pantawid Pasada program. A total of P977 million was allocated for the program, for the remaining 6 months of 2018.
Nelley Cruz, 52, is among the jeepney operators who received a cash card from Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) on Tuesday. She said it only took her 20 minutes to go through the process at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) Central Office in Quezon City.
"Hindi naman mahirap 'yung proseso. Nag-fill up lang kami ng form para sa card. Tapos 'yun na, tapos na (It wasn't a difficult process. We only filled up a form for the card. And then that's it, we're done)," she said
Cruz said her son drives the jeepney, with a registered route from Monumento in Caloocan City to Pulo in Valenzuela City.
"'Yung P5,000 na natanggap namin ngayon, napakalaking tulong na rin ang nabigay nila sa gas na puwedeng gamitin (The P5,000 that we received today is a big help to buy gas)," Cruz told Rappler.
Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler
Those with franchises registered in Metro Manila may claim their cards at the LTO Central Office until September 7, from Monday to Saturday, 8 am to 5 pm.
They need to bring a valid government ID, a photocopy of the ID, and a 1x1 ID photo.
According to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the money from the cash card is only for fuel puchases.
"It's very specific for fuel purchases only. We have a list of gas stations all over the country where they can use [the cards]. The participating gas stations have tarpaulins on the program so that they can be easily identified," LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said in an interview on DZRH on Tuesday.
The LTFRB said the LandBank will monitor the purchases made using the card.
The Pantawid Pasada is not a new fuel subsidy program. The administration of President Benigno Aquino III implemented the program in 2011 through Executive Order 32, as part of a contingency program for sectors affected by oil price hikes due to the Arab Spring – anti-government protests and armed rebellions that swept across the Middle East.
The implementation of the program during the previous administration, however, suffered some glitches, including some drivers receiving their subsidies late or cards having no cash at all.
It was revived this time around to mitigate the impact of the tax reform law on jeepney drivers.
The proposed allocation of the program in the 2019 budget is P3.86 billion, increasing the subsidy per jeepney driver to P20,515 per year. – Rappler.com