PN file photo

The provincial office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) clarified Wednesday that tricycle drivers will only receive P1,000 in fuel subsidies, not P6,500 as previously reported, to mitigate the impact of rising petroleum prices.

DILG provincial director Virgilio Tagle told Palawan News in a phone call that as of the June 7 directive they received from their central office, the amount that will be given as cash grants to qualified tricycle drivers will be P1,000 only, contrary to an earlier statement from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

“Officially, kina-clarify namin ang mga naunang statements, o kung meron mang lumabas sa social media o saan mang outlet na P6,500 ay maaari na may mga basis sila, pero dito sa latest advisory from central office sa DILG dated June 7, 2022, ay nakalagay po talaga dito na P1,000 lang,” he said.

“Each tricycle beneficiary will be provided with P1,000 fuel subsidy. Nag-a-appeal tayo na maikorek kung ano man yong lumabas sa ibang statement,” he added.

Tagle stated that there is no set date for when the cash grants will be distributed, but their central office indicated that they will be distributed in three batches. “Sooner sana ma-release, kasi siyempre kailangan ng mga tricycle drivers natin.”

Tagle noted that they have submitted an initial list of 3,915 tricycle drivers for Puerto Princesa City and Palawan, but it is not yet final and official, pending submission to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) that will conduct verification.

In the city and province, he said the total number is around 7,000 tricycle drivers. However, only drivers from legitimate operators or franchise holders will receive fuel subsidies.

“Hindi ganoon ka-reliable kung halimbawa ang number namin na nakuha sa Palawan ay siyang magiging basis natin. Ang final number ay manggagaling talaga sa LTFRB. Itong 3,915 na sinabi ko sa inyo, raw ito na kinuha namin sa Palawan, other than Puerto Princesa,” he said.

Earlier, the DBM said it has released P2.5 billion for the fuel subsidy program to provide assistance to affected sectors to caution against the impact of the oil price hikes in the past three months.

Under the fuel subsidy goal, P6,500 in direct financial assistance will be provided not only to affected jeepney drivers but also to qualified drivers of UV express, mini-busses, buses, shuttle services, taxis, tricycles, and other full-time ride-hailing transport network vehicle service (TNVS) such as motorcycle taxis, and delivery services across the country.

It said further that the LTFRB was tasked to coordinate with the DILG and the Department of Communication and Technology (DICT) to identify beneficiaries, particularly on the list of qualified tricycle drivers, ride-hailing services, and delivery services, respectively.

On Tuesday, DILG Sec. Eduardo M. Año said in a statement that the fuel subsidy will be disbursed by the LTFRB, either through the beneficiaries’ e-wallet accounts or branches of the Landbank of the Philippines or through off-site payout by the local government units (LGUs).

“Inaasahan namin na sa pamamagitan ng fuel subsidy na ito, maiibsan kahit paano ang paghihirap ng mga tricycle drivers dulot ng sunod-sunod na pagtaas ng presyo ng krudo at paghina ng biyahe dahil sa Covid-19 pandemic. Ito ang paraan ng pamahalaan para ipamalas ang kanyang pagmamalasakit sa ating mga tricycle drivers,” Año said.

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.