Fuel subsidy for PUVs suffers P500-M budget cut

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  • Lawmakers slammed the proposed P500 million budget cut on fuel subsidies for public utility
    vehicles next year, despite rising pump prices.

    During Tuesday’s plenary debates at the House of Representatives on the proposed 2024 budget of
    the Department of Transportation and its attached agencies, DOTr’s budget sponsor, Valenzuela
    City 2nd District Rep. Eric Martinez said the agency requested for P5 billion to fund the fuel
    subsidies next year.

    But the Department of Budget and Management granted only P2.5 billion, citing “limited fiscal
    space”. This figure is lower than this year’s P3 billion budget for the program.

    “Hindi katanggap-tanggap ang cut sa fuel subsidy. While may mga ganoong cuts, ang ating
    economic managers ay ayaw doon sa suspension and removal ng VAT and excise tax sa fuel,”
    Kabataan Party List Representative Raoul Manuel said.

    “We really lament ‘yung pagbaba ng fuel subsidy. Especially now. Ito ‘yung panahon para magbigay
    ng direktang subsidiya para sa ating transport sector… Imbes na magbigay ng immediate relief sa
    ating mga tsuper na pumapasa ng taas-singil sa langis, ipinapasa pa ng gobyerno sa mga commuter
    sa porma ng taas singil sa pasahe,” Gabriela Party List Representative Arlene Brosas added.

    “Sana imbes na confidential funds natin nilalagay ang pondo natin, ilagay naman natin dito sa
    diretang mapapakinabangan o subsidy talaga para sa ating mga tsuper, sa ating transport sector,”
    Brosas noted, stressing that she will move to increase the budget for fuel subsidies at the proper
    time.

    The government’s PUV modernization program, meanwhile, received zero allocation in the
    proposed 2024 budget. Martinez said the DOTr requested for P1.8 billion funding for the program,
    including P1.2 billion for equity subsidy, but this was not approved by the Department of Budget
    and Management.

    EDSA MOTORCYCLE LANE
    1RIDER Party List Rep. Bonifacio Bosita pushed for an exclusive motorcycle lane along EDSA. The
    DOTr said it will study the proposal.

    “Sa kahabaan ng EDSA, mayroong exclusive bus lane at mayroong exclusive bicycle lane. Maayos ito
    at mas ligtas ang mga sasakyan na dumadaan dito. Ang motorcycles na dumaraan naman sa
    kahabaan ng EDSA ay may tinatayang bilang na 175,000 araw-araw. Ang ibang sasakyan, excluding
    buses ay may bilang na 252,000 araw-araw,” Bosita said.

    “Maaari bang malaman sa DOTr kung sila ay may balak o maaaring pag-aralan ang problema ditto
    sa EDSA, kasama ang MMDA para sa posibilidad na maglaan ng exclusive motorcycle lane sa EDSA
    para sa riders na tinatayang 40% at maglaan naman ng dalawa o higit pang lanes para sa other
    vehicles na tinatayang 60%” he added.

    “DOTr keeps an open mind in studying such an option, given the numbers that you have
    mentioned,” Martinez replied.

    The House of Representatives terminated Tuesday night the plenary debates on the proposed 2024
    budget for the DOTr and its attached agencies, except for the Maritime Industry Authority. (V.
    Gulla, abs-cbn

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