Thousands of tricycle drivers in Catanduanes may have to wait a little longer for the P6,500 fuel assistance to be granted by the national government in response to the spiraling cost of gasoline and other fuel products.
According to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) provincial office, not one of the 11 municipal mayors here complied with the recent directive of Secretary Eduardo Año for the local government units to submit a list of qualified recipients of the fuel subsidy under the Pantawid Pasada Program spearheaded by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
Sec. Año had said last April 22 that city and municipal local chief executives (LCEs) are expected to come up with the list to expedite the process of aiding tricycle drivers “whose meager income is further cut by the recent oil price hikes.”
He added that the said list, once validated, shall be the basis of the DOTr-LTFRB in granting the fuel subsidy.
“I urge all City and Municipal LCEs to produce a validated list of qualified tricycle drivers who will receive the Pantawid Pasada Program fuel subsidy. Kailangan po ito ng ating mga kababayang tricycle drivers who have been burdened by the recent unprecedented oil price hikes,” Año said.
“Sana po ay paspasan po natin ang pag-aasikaso ng listahang ito para kahit papaano ay maibsan ang pasanin ng ating mga drayber,” he added.
Apparently, the rigors of the ongoing election campaign prevented the mayors from doing this particular, urgent job.
Virac alone has about 3,000 tricycles covered by franchises, with San Andres having another 400 of the three-wheeled motorized vehicles.
The P3-billion program funded under the 2022 General Appropriations Act seeks to provide P6,500 worth of subsidy to each of the 377,443 drivers of jeepneys, UV Express vans, mini buses, shuttle servives, taxis, tricycles and other full-time ride-hailing services as the government’s response to skyrocketing fuel prices which have doubled since 2020.
In Memorandum Circular No. 022-047 dated April 19, 2022, Secretary Eduardo Año directed all city and municipal mayors to come up with a validated list of tricycle franchisees, tricycle drivers, addresses, electronic wallet accounts, number of operating tricycles and other details within their respective jurisdictions.
The list, which was supposed to be submitted the other Monday (April 26), is to be prepared and certified by the head of the local Tricycle Franchising Board and the head of the local Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (TODA) and further certified correct by the vice mayor and the mayor.
Aside from submission of the list, the LGU is also asked to ensure that the fuel subsidy will be utilized for fuel purchases/payments only.
It will have to set up a Pantawid Pasada Assistance and Complaint Desk/Hotline to address complaints from the beneficiary-tricycle drivers regarding the list and availment of the subsidy.
Coordination will also be made with the concerned beneficiary for any inconsistency or insufficiency in the details or information of said beneficiary needed for the release of the subsidy.
“In as much as we want to assist everyone, we must abide by the set parameters kaya hinihiling namin ang pangunguna ng mga LGU at kooperasyon ng ating mga tricycle driver upang mabilis na maibaba ang fuel subsidy na ito sa kanila,” Año said.
The DILG chief said the distribution of the fuel subsidy shall the responsibility of the DOTr-LTFRB and shall be disseminated through the e-wallet account submitted by the beneficiaries.