MANILA (UPDATED) - A total of P1 billion will be released to fund cash grants for public utility drivers hit by the rising costs of fuel, the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) said Monday.
The subsidy will benefit some 178,000 PUV drivers for the remaining months of the year which will be disbursed under LTFRB's Pantawid Pasada Program, members of the DBCC said in a joint statement.
The budget will be charged under the untapped appropriations under the Support Infrastructure Projects and Social Programs in 2021.
"We, the members of the Development Budget Coordination Committee, are committed to supporting our transportation sector, amidst the increasing oil prices," the statement said.
Prices of petroleum spiked for the last 8 weeks, with another hike set for the last week of October prompting lawmakers as well as transport groups to seek suspension of the excise taxes on fuel.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi earlier said suspending the excise tax could lower fuel prices by P8 to P10.
However, suspending the measure will result in "substantial revenue loss" of as much as P131.4 billion in 2022, the Finance Department has said.
Senators said they will monitor the release of cash grants to jeepney drives to ensure proper distribution.
"Bantayan natin 'yan para maibigay agad sa ating mga driver," Sen. Grace Poe said.
(We will watch over it so the drivers will immediately receive it.)
"Babantayan namin na talagang maibibigay sa mga drivers natin, at higit sa lahat, ma-relase 'yan sa unprogrammed appropriations under 2021," Sen. Imee Marcos added.
(We'll really make sure it will be given to our drivers, and most of all, be released under unprogrammed appropriations in 2021.)
— With a report from Robert Mano, ABS-CBN News