President Ferdinand R. March Jr. wants to simplify the requirements of the fuel subsidy to public utility drivers, including tricycle drivers.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. wants to simplify the requirements of the 2024 national budget provision on fuel subsidies for the transport sector to shorten the trigger period from three months to one month, Energy Secretary Rafael Lotilla said during the press briefing on Tuesday in Malacañang.

“So, with this simplification or shortening of the period, we will be able to release the subsidies in a shorter period of time,” Lotilla said.

Lotilla said that whenever the Dubai price per barrel would exceed to US$80 for three months that would serve as the trigger for the provision of subsidies to the transport sector drivers including tricycle.

He added that the simplification of the release requirements was based on the proposal by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to Congress, the guidelines would need only to be agreed upon by the DBM, the Department of Transportation (DOTr), and the Department of Energy (DOE).

“And these can be released upon the finalization of the list of beneficiaries by the Department of Transportation for those which have franchises; and then by the Department of Interior and Local Government for tricycle drivers; and by the Department of Trade and Industry for delivery service drivers,” he said.

The energy secretary said that the Fuel Subsidy Program would have an allocation of P3 billion for 2023, which would cover an estimated 1.36 million qualified public utility vehicles.

Lotilla explained that another measure agreed upon during the meeting was the implementation of the voluntary 20 percent ethanol blend for gasoline, which is targeted for approval by the end of this year.

At present, Lotilla said that there is a mandatory requirement of 10 percent blend of ethanol with gasoline and the new policy to be implemented is voluntary raising it to 20 percent as part of the government price mitigation measure.

Lotilla added that imported Ethanol is cheaper than the price of gasoline.

The current price of gasoline without ethanol is around PhP56.89 and the measure will result in a price differential of around one peso and 28 centavos.

The local ethanol price per liter is currently around P79.49, which is higher than the imported ethanol, which is at P41.44, although local ethanol production can only support 48 percent of the 10 percent blend, making the utilization of the highest share of imported ethanol to result in lower pump prices because of the increased blend.