Gasoline prices have risen dramatically since the Ukraine-Russia conflict, prompting the city government to allocate funding for fuel subsidies for operators and drivers of public utility vehicles (PUV), such as jeepneys, multicabs, and tricycles.
Victor Oliveros, chairman of the committee on landed estate and urban development, said Monday during his privilege speech that they aim to provide the fuel subsidy within this month. He said the city government will also allocate funds to cover tricycle drivers.
“The national government already approved the subsidy for the jeepney, which includes the multicabs. Wala po talagang allocation for this, dumating lang po ito ng biglaan na kailangan i-address. Dahil may na-allocate na para sa mga jeepneys, kaya pupunan po natin ‘yong gap, which is ‘yong mga tricycles naman,” he said.
“Yong subsidy para sa tricycles [galing sa national government] ay wala pa po ata kaya ‘yon po ang pupunan natin,” he added.
Oliveros said that the fuel subsidy will be released as soon as feasible. They do, however, require some more time to complete the appropriation. He added that the local government was just awaiting the budget, describing the situation as “unexpected” and in need of immediate attention.
“This representation is asking to give us a little time to study because we don’t have enough appropriation for that. We just have to discuss kung saan natin kukunin. Gagawaan natin ng paraan para magkaroon ng subsidy doon sa transport sector. Pinag-aaralan din kung saan kukuha, gaano katagal at gaano karami dahil we cannot say as to how long this will affect us,” Oliveros said.
Councilor Peter ‘Jimbo’ Maristela, chairman of the committee on transportation, said action should be taken soon as the election ban, which is set to take effect on March 25, is rapidly approaching.
He stressed that the election ban will prohibit any form of subsidy beginning March 25.
“Ako ay lubos na natutuwa dahil magbibigay tayo ng subsidy sa ating transport sector lalo na sa tricycle, ngunit kinakailangang umaksyon agad tayo sapagkat pagpasok ng March 25 ay pinagbabawal na po ang pagbibigay ng anumang financial assistance, subsidy, o ayuda sa sinuman dahil election ban na,” Maristela said.
“Mayroon na lang tayong 11 days para gawin ito, kaya kung maaari sana ay mapag-usapan at madesisyon na para ngayong biyernes o bago mag March 25 ay ma-release na natin sa ating transport sector,” he added.
Meanwhile, Oliveros assured that the time they requested would not take more than a week, citing they only needed to plan it out properly.
“Itong paghahanda ay hindi naman po aabot ng isang linggo. Kailangan lang po ng konting-konti na panahon dahil kailangan mayroong paghahanda. Nais natin itong ibigay agad,” Oliveros said.
The proposed resolution was approved on its second reading, dispensing the third and final reading.