Transport subsidy slows

January 21, 2019

Socio-economic projects delayed are vital public services denied.

When a socially critical project loses steam, its impact on intended beneficiaries is greatly diminished.

Sometimes such reduction renders the entire project meaningless or at least ineffective.

Consider the public transportation subsidy program.

Senator Nancy Binay took to task the transportation department over its slow distribution of the "Pantawid Pasada" aid,  which was meant to mitigate the impact of fuel price increases on jeepney drivers and operators.

According to Binay, the slow distribution, coupled with the fuel price hike and the effect of the second round of excise tax increase this January, is already hurting the pockets of those in the public transport sector.

"Patuloy pong umaaray ang mga kasama nating jeepney driver at operators dahil sa muling pagtaas ng presyo ng petrolyo, kung kaya't kailangan nating tanungin ang DOTr at LTFRB kung kamusta na ang distribution nila ng ayuda," Binay said.

During the hearings for the proposed 2019 budget of the transportation department last December, it was found out that only 69,000 beneficiaries have received their cards, out of 171,000 intended recipients.

"Jeepney drivers and operators take the brunt of the impact of these increases, lalo ngayong ibinalik sa P9.00 ang minimum fare," Binay said.

Under the social mitigating measures of the tax reform law, jeepney drivers and operators can get a fuel subsidy worth P20,000 this year. Last year, recipients of the the "Pantawid Pasada" program received a P5,000 fuel subsidy.

"Baka we'll call another hearing to get an update kung close to 100% na yung kanilang distribution for this Pasada assistance to our jeepney drivers," she added.

Binay also called on the LTFRB to strictly monitor the cards' usage, noting that some drivers complained of not getting the subsidy from their operators, or the subsidy being used for other purposes.

"Siguruhin din po sana ng LTFRB na tama ang paggamit ng ating fuel subsidy, na dapat sa pagbili ng gasolina o diesel mapupunta ito," Binay said.

"May mga naririnig na rin po tayo sa mga driver na hindi ibinibigay ng mga operator ang dapat na subsidy, kaya napipilitan silang i-shoulder ng buo ang presyo ng gasolina o diesel," she added.