By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Citing the urgency in providing the much-needed aid to all those affected in the transport sector, Senator Win Gatchalian called out the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and local government units (LGUs) to act with dispatch on the release and distribution of fuel subsidies to the 113,000 tricycle drivers and delivery services who are among the intended 337,443 beneficiaries of the P2.5 billion Pantawid Pasada program of the government.
The program is now in the process of being distributed to jeepney drivers and operators while tricycle drivers and delivery service riders may have to wait until the second quarter of the year before they can get their subsidy from the government.
“We need a timetable. Tricycle drivers and delivery service riders are equally important as the other public utility drivers. Nahihirapan din sila. We’ve been talking about this for the last three weeks,” Gatchalian told the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) representative who attended the recent Senate hearing.
“The LGUs can dispense the cash quickly. They can provide the list in the morning and distribute it in the afternoon. It’s just a matter of putting this in motion. We need to raise this to Secretary Tugade because we have to distribute Pantawid Pasada to tricycle drivers and other entities. We need to get this moving. I’m not satisfied with the uncertainty. Uncertain na nga yung presyo, uncertain pa rin ‘yung subsidy,” Gatchalian lamented.
The re-electionist senator made the call as he enjoined all concerned agencies to explore the possibility of raising the fuel subsidy from the current P6,500 to as much as P19,824 per beneficiary given how much pump prices have increased since January 2022.
“I’m suggesting to increase the Pantawid Pasada to be given to the 377,443 PUVs and other entities because prices of oil have already breached $120 per barrel and it’s moving up continuously. We have to look at increasing the allocated pay per driver due to the high cost of fuel,” the Senate Energy Committee Chairperson said. (ai/mtvn)