P2.5B in fresh aid set for public transport drivers amid high fuel prices

In an effort to alleviate the financial strain of soaring fuel prices on public transport drivers, the Philippine government, with particular advocacy from Makati City Representative Luis Campos Jr., has dedicated a sizable amount of P2.5 billion for fuel subsidies within the 2024 national budget.

The fund is aimed at supporting public utility vehicle drivers across the spectrum, including those operating tricycles, ride-hailing, and delivery services.

Another P510 million is earmarked for small farmers to offset the increased costs of fuel for agricultural machinery.

The substantial government aid aligns with the continued high prices of Dubai crude oil, which, as per the Mean of Platts Singapore, stays above the $80 per barrel threshold, Campos said.

These subsidies are vital, as they enable the beneficiaries to continue their operations without the added burden of fuel expenses, which have seen significant increases.

Last year, modern jeepney and UV Express drivers received P10,000 each, while drivers of other modes of public transport were granted P6,500 each.

To ensure proper distribution of these funds, beneficiaries are to be identified and validated by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board for transport drivers, and the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture for farmers.

The structured approach ensures that those most in need are the recipients of the aid, aiming to stabilize the essential sectors that have been deeply affected by the global rise in fuel prices.

This financial aid plan is still under congressional deliberation for the year 2024, signifying a continued commitment to supporting the sectors most impacted by fuel price fluctuations.

The distribution is carried out through the Department of Transportation, with a portion also channeled through the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of Information and Communications Technology for specific groups like tricycle drivers and delivery service riders.