PROMDI presidential candidate Manny Pacquiao and wife Jinky greet the crowd during a caravan in Pateros recently (Photo: MP Sortie Management Group)
By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — PROMDI presidential aspirant Senator Manny Pacquiao is calling on the Duterte administration to immediately release the fuel subsidy of public transport drivers and operators hardest hit by skyrocketing fuel prices.
Diesel and gasoline already hit P80-100 to a liter.
In a statement, the lawmaker a.k.a. People’s Champ, chided government authorities in the delay of subsidies even as he warned that this might come late into fruition as the public transport sector is already in its death throes due to the unabated increase of pump prices.
“Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo,” Pacquiao cited a Filipino saying that describes the current situation as help coming too late for public utility drivers and operators.
The incumbent senator also noted how drivers are now “begging for alms” just to avoid their families from experiencing hunger and deprivation.
Latest reports have shown that most drivers face difficulties in getting the P6,500 in fuel subsidy which an estimated 375,000 drivers of public utility vehicles (PUVs) are seeking.
“The big problem here is the hardship of claiming the assistance from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) due to the long process and many documents that we need to submit,” Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) president Modesto Floranda pointed out.
“The subsidy is supposed to be for fuel products so we’re telling the LTFRB and Congress that the Pantawid Pasada should directly benefit the drivers,” Floranda added in reference to the Department of Energy (DoE)’s one-time fuel subsidy program last year which, as PUV drivers and operators understand, is the same subsidy they are seeking anew.
According to an LTFRB official, the latest fuel subsidy, whose distribution began on March 15, may be obtained through the same Pantawid Pasada card.
However, the intended beneficiaries have been complaining about the aggravation of going back and forth in following up on their due benefits, and complicating matters more is the issue of ownership when it comes to jeepneys that have been sold. (ai/mtvn)