The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said the government's one-time fuel assistance, aimed at helping public transport drivers and operators cope with skyrocketing gasoline and diesel prices, is expected to be released this week.

Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has already submitted a joint memorandum circular (JMC) for the new round of fuel subsidies for public utility vehicles (PUVs).

To recall, the DBM said last Aug. 17 that the fuel subsidies will only be disbursed once a new JMC containing the guidelines for the program has been submitted.

“The joint circular is complete,” Pangandaman told Manila Bulletin in a mobile phone message when asked about the status of the JMC.

The signatories of the JMC, as specified by Special Provision No. 7 of the 2023 General Appropriations Act (GAA), are the DOTr, Department of Energy, and DBM.

Nevertheless, Pangandaman said there are still some documents pending submission by the DOTr. But, she assured that the budget for the fuel subsidy program “should be out this week.”

The distribution of fuel subsidies by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board faced delays last month due to the requirements of the new JMC.

The DBM argued that the documents were needed to “set the process for the identification and validation of beneficiaries for 2023.”

In 2022, the DOTr issued a JMC containing guidelines for the P2.5 billion in fuel assistance provided to approximately 300,000 beneficiaries.

“The previous guidelines in FY 2022 refer specifically to the release and implementation of the fuel subsidy as reflected in the FY 2022 GAA,” the DBM said.

Approximately P3 billion is allocated for the latest fuel subsidy program, which would be disbursed through cash cards usable at selected gasoline stations.

Each modern jeepney and UV Express unit is eligible to receive P10,000, while traditional jeepney drivers will receive P6,500.

Motorcycle taxis and delivery service riders will be granted P1,200 through an e-wallet distribution system. 

Tricycle drivers, on the other hand, will receive P1,000 each through the local government unit where they are registered.

This week, diesel and kerosene prices are set to increase by around P1 in the 9th straight hike, while gasoline prices will rise for the 8th consecutive time.

Fuel subsidies were introduced during the pandemic to assist PUV drivers unable to operate their routes, serving as an alternative to fare increases, which government economic managers view as potentially leading to inflation.

Source: Manila Bulletin (