Lawmaker demands rapid P2.5-B fuel subsidy release

In light of the recent fuel price hikes, Makati City Representative Luis Campos Jr. has urged for an immediate release of the P2.5 billion fuel subsidy intended for public transport drivers. The House appropriations committee vice-chairperson called for the government to expedite the subsidy process to alleviate the financial strain on drivers caused by escalating gasoline and diesel costs.

Campos, in a statement on Sunday, argued that there should be no delays in aid distribution if the criteria for the subsidy have been satisfied. “Assuming the conditions that will trigger the grant of the subsidy have already been met, then we see no reason for any holdups in the distribution of the cash aid,” he stated.

The subsidy’s quick release was enabled by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who, alongside Congress, reduced the trigger period for the subsidy. This legislative change aims to deliver immediate economic relief to public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers, which include taxi, tricycle, and full-time ride-hailing and delivery service operators.

Campos stressed the provisions of the 2024 General Appropriations Law, which allows for the disbursement of the subsidy once the price of Dubai crude oil remains at or above $80 per barrel for a consecutive 30-day period—a significant shortening from the previous 90-day requirement.

The Department of Budget and Management has confirmed the funds have been released to the Department of Transportation. Previously, modern jeepney and UV Express drivers received P10,000, while drivers of buses, minibuses, school buses, taxis, traditional jeepneys, and ride-hailing services received P6,500. Delivery riders and tricycle drivers were granted P1,200 and P1,000, respectively.

The urgent call for the subsidy distribution comes as fuel prices have seen a substantial rise, with gasoline increasing by P9.30 per liter and diesel by P6.05 per liter this year. Campos’s push for the prompt release of funds underscores the commitment to supporting transport drivers who are fundamental to the mobility of the nation’s workforce and economy.