Sen. Grace Poe today urged the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to distribute the fuel subsidy cards to all recipients as only half out of a total of 171,836 jeepney franchise holders were given the subsidies meant to cushion the impacts of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
Poe, who chairs the Senate public services panel, said the allocated budget of P977 million in 2018 has not been fully utilized.
"Ang success rate nilakung meron man silang nabigyanparang 47 percent lang. May kalahati pang hindi nakakatanggap," Poe said in a radio interview Monday, February 11.
Transport officials had said contributing to the delay was the franchise holder was out of the country, transfer of franchise was not reflected in their database, or the franchise holder was dead or ill.
The senator said the DOTr should come up with a mechanism to address the delays.
Poe, who held hearings on the delay of the distribution of the social benefits program under the tax reform program, wondered how the DOTr would implement the second tranche of social benefits program under the TRAIN law if they have not fully rolled out the Pantawid Pasada cards to the intended beneficiaries.
Under the TRAIN law, for 2019, the fuel subsidy will increase to P20,514 or P1,709 per month for every beneficiary, compared with the P5,000 subsidy last year.
During the budget deliberations last year, Poe hit the slow distribution of fuel cards amid rising petroleum prices.
"Alam natin na ang mga PUV [public utility vehicle] drivers, kasama yan sa isa sa pinakamahihirap sa bansa. Siniguro natin na 'yung ipinangako ng gobyerno ay dapat magkaroon ng pondo sa ating budget," Poe added.
Poe said the DOTr may need the assistance of other government agencies for a speedier distribution of the Pantawid Pasada cards.
Source: Senate of the Philippines