Quezon City, April 26, 2011 (PIA)---GOVERNMENT information agents converged at the Hotel Rembrandt in Quezon City to rev up the information support for the Pantawid Pasada Program (3Ps) fuel cash assistance steered to bumper the impacts of recent series of gas price hikes severely denting the public transport sector.
The goal is to help the already suffering public utility jeepney (PUJ) or tricycle drivers who are pitted against the economic ripples of fuel price hikes which have toughened the conditions of drivers, said energy Secretary Rene Almendras during a briefing attended by all government information officers across the country Tuesday.
Now with school vacations further shrinking incomes due to lessened commuters, drivers have sought sounded the horns to ask government help to momentarily save them from their predicament.
After a series of consultations with transport groups, the government distributes next week its Pantawid Pasada Program (3Ps) with the distribution of fuel assistance cards to the public transport sectors to fend off these impacts, in line with President Benigno Simeon Aquino’s Executive Order 32.
According to Secretary Almendras, the program aims to provide temporary assistance to public jeepney and tricycle operators to ease their daily fuel expenses at least for the summer month.
He said the government would distribute 6,000 fuel cards all over the country, each card loaded with P1,050.00 which may be used by jeepney drivers to buy fuel from participating gasoline stations.
Although the loaded amount is consumable in a month, the encoded information will be valid for five years, so that it is essential to keep the card as it may be used again for future assistance by oil companies, added Undersecretary Zenaida Monsada of DOE.
The assistance is equivalent to P2.33 per liter for jeepneys and P1.37 for tricycles, she added during the briefing.
“We agree, this is small on a per card basis but the whole amount is half a billion to the transport sector, which have been identified as vulnerable sectors of the society,” concedes Energy Secretary Almendras.
The card is also encoded with data and information including the vehicle type, plate number, franchise route origin, franchise number and expiration date.
Almendras however said that although the program is technically not a subsidy as it is not to a specific consumption, he also said that PPP is just a part of the short term solution to the problem by allotting for the country’s 285,000 jeepney units and some one million tricycles.
The long term plan, Almendras said, is to put up the country’s infrastructure to attain a higher level of energy independence by developing our local resources.
The ultimate plan is to transform the public transport systems into using compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, bio-ethanol and other locally sourced energy in the next years.
It has been done in Brazil and in Argentina and we are on our way, he said.
Almendras stressed that the country would better develop its own sources as the oil consumption across the globe has risen exponentially while the production has remained the same. (Rey Anthony Chiu)