MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s (LTFRB) request to continue releasing gasoline subsidies to drivers and operators was authorized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday.
“The grant of the petition to LTFRB is subject to the strict implementation of the program, resubmission of information on how the project will be implemented, the parameters of implementation, and especially the specific target beneficiaries on how they will apply to avail of the grants of the program, and likewise subject to submission of the different departments that would be implementing the said program of the LTFRB — from the Department of Agriculture to the [Department of Social Welfare and Development] and such other departments,” Comelec Commissioner George Garcia stated in a press conference.
He added that in order to comply with the conditions, LTFRB must wait for the poll body’s resolution.
“Definitely, we will issue the resolution containing the instruction. We know that Filipinos are waiting for this. The Comelec is not the commission that will prevent a very good project like this but we just want to make sure it is properly implemented,” Garcia said.
Earlier, the LTFRB had already paused the implementation of its fuel subsidy program after the poll authority issued a spending ban on March 25 that would extend until May 8.
The LTFRB launched its P3-billion Pantawid Pasada program on March 15, with 377,443 drivers of jeepneys, UV Express vans, small buses, shuttle services, taxis, tricycles, and other full-time ride-hailing services receiving P6,500 in subsidies each.
Although transportation groups have urged a suspension of excise taxes on petroleum products, the project was the government’s solution to soaring fuel prices.
During the election time, the Comelec requires government offices that administer social welfare projects to apply for a certificate of exemption from the Comelec in order to continue operating these programs. – WhatALife! / Francis