Pantawid Pasada budget doubled to Php5B


In order to cushion soaring pump prices, the government doubled its budget for the Pantawid Pasada program to Php5 billion from the initial Php 2.5 billion

The first tranche of the subsidies will be released this month, while the second tranche will be released in April, according to Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi.

Ang ginawa para ‘di na mag-antay sa suspension ng excise tax, tinaas ‘yung subsidy na ibibigay to the targeted sectors,” Cusi said in a media briefing on Tuesday, 

It wasn’t mentioned, though, where the other Php2.5 billion will come from. 

Cusi added that the suspension of fuel excise tax will depend on Congress.

Under Republic Act 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, the collection of the fuel excise tax would only be suspended if average global crude oil prices hit an average of $80 per barrel for three months. The Department of Finance earlier rejected the idea of suspending the imposition of the fuel excise tax.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy, had also mentioned that the Pantawid Pasada program would be more economical versus suspending the fuel excise tax. 

When asked how much would oil pump prices, Cusi said it’s uncertain as local prices are dependent on the world market prices, but he said that the increase “[is] not yet the last” 

“The future oil price is uncertain for how long…This one, we don’t know,” Cusi said, emphasizing the need for energy efficiency and conservation for both the public and private sectors. 

“Nanawagan po ako sa ating kababayan na observe efficient use of energy and conservation,” Cusi stressed. 

The secretary had also appealed to the candidates in the May 9 elections to postpone their motorcades to help in conservation measures “during this critical period.” 

As to when the oil prices would go down, Cusi said it would depend on three factors: If the war between Russia and Ukraine would end, if OPEC+ will meet the growing demand for oil production, and if sanctions against Venezuela and Iran would be lifted. 

For the tenth straight week, local oil prices have jumped by as much as Php3.80/liter for gasoline, Php5.85/liter for diesel, and Php4.10/liter for kerosene.