MANILA - The scheduled release of fuel subsidy cash cards to jeepney operators on Thursday did not push through after transport officials changed the manner of giving away the subsidy.
The Pantawid Pasada cards, which are meant to cushion the impact of fuel excise taxes on public utility jeepneys (PUJs), were supposed to be released today.
But Landbank, which is in charge of releasing the cards, said the Department of Transportation had decided to give out the subsidy in a P5,000 lump sum instead of six installments of P833 per month.
Landbank President Alex Buenaventura said they learned about the decision today just minutes before the cards were supposed to be handed out.
He said it will take time and more funding to adjust the amount the cards could withdraw.
"Hihingi kami ng pondo kasi ang hawak naming pondo para lang sa 1 month," Buenaventura said.
(We will ask for funds because the funds we have right now are enough for just 1 month.)
Landbank said it may instead distribute the cards on Tuesday next week.
One transport group, meanwhile, said it is worried that the subsidies may end up benefiting only the operators and not the drivers.
The Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (ACTO) also dismissed the fuel subsidies as a mere ploy to make President Duterte look good in time for the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23.
"Propaganda lamang ito para sa darating na SONA," said ACTO president Efren de Luna.
(This is just propaganda for the coming SONA.)
The government is looking to distribute cash cards to 178,000 PUJ units.
- with reports from Jacque Manabat and Joyce Balancio, ABS-CBN News