Palace allows fuel subsidy

Published by rudy Date posted on April 1, 2011

P500M eyed for jeepneys, tricycles

TO cushion the impact of rising oil prices on the public, President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Thursday said that he had approved in principle the executive order that grants fuel subsidy to selected public utility vehicles for a period of one month.

President Aquino said that the fuel subsidy program would only cover jeepneys and tricycles with the “necessary franchises.” He said that bus fares were not included since a P1-increase in bus fares had just been approved by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

“Magkakaroon tayo ng fuel subsidy para sa lahat ng may prankisang pampublikong transport [We will have fuel subsidy for all public transport with franchises],” he said during a chance interview at the load-out ceremony of the British Petroleum Whiting Refinery Modernization Project at AG&P Batangas Heavy Fabrication Yard at Bauan, Batangas, when asked on what the government could do to address the concerns of transport groups. Some transport groups staged nationwide protests also on Thursday.

After one month, the President said that the government would assess whether to increase, reduce or discontinue the assistance depending on the volatility of oil prices in the world market.

Mr. Aquino said that the government had allotted at least P500 million for the said program. He said that the budget would be generated from government savings and revenues.

“We are already in the last stages of working with Land Bank [of the Philippines] and there’s one other bank that will be producing the Smartcards for us. They have the systems in place already,” he added.

Secretary Ricky Carandang said that the executive order on fuel subsidy had not yet been signed by President Aquino.

“The details are still being worked out,” the head of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office added.

Earlier announcement
It was Department of Energy Undersecretary Jay Layug who announced over the weekend the plan of the Aquino administration to provide a “fuel assistance program” to help shield consumers from rising fuel prices.

The assistance will allow the public transport sector to purchase fuel at a lower price than current levels.

The program, once approved, could also be extended to other sectors that have been hard hit by the surge in fuel prices such as agriculture and fisheries.

Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said that the program would kick off in “a week and a half” after Malacañang approves the executive order outlining the assistance, which would be coursed through discount cards.

“We do not look at it as a fund, but more on the mechanism of intervention. This is a pilot project. We might even expand the sectoral coverage,” Almendras added.

Layug, however, said that the assistance to be given by the government would only be temporary.

Since the start of the year, international oil prices have sustained their upward movement, following unrest over oil producing nations in the Middle East and North Africa.

This has resulted in several fuel price increases at the pumps throughout the year. –Cris G. Odronia, Reporter, Manila Times

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