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PBBM wants shorter trigger period for fuel subsidy release to transport sector, simplified gov’t requirements – Presidential Communications Office

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. called on changing the language of the 2024 national budget provision on fuel subsidies for the transport sector to shorten the trigger period from three months to one month and simplification of subsidy release requirements.

Energy Secretary Rafael Lotilla told the Palace press briefing on Tuesday that the President specifically gave the instructions to change the language of the 2024 GAA provision on fuel subsidies for the transport sector.

Lotilla said this was one of the highlights of Tuesday’s sectoral meeting.

“So, with this simplification or shortening of the period, we will be able to release the subsidies in a shorter period of time,” Lotilla told reporters.

Currently, whenever the Dubai price per barrel exceeds US$80 for three months that serves as the trigger for the provision of subsidies to the transport sector drivers including tricycle.

On the simplification of the release requirements, as proposed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to Congress, the guidelines will need only to be agreed upon by the DBM, the Department of Transportation (DOTr), and the Department of Energy (DOE), the energy chief explained.

“And these can be released upon the finalization of the list of beneficiaries by the Department of Transportation for those which have franchises; and then by the Department of Interior and Local Government for tricycle drivers; and by the Department of Trade and Industry for delivery service drivers,” he said.

The Fuel Subsidy Program has a budget of PhP3 billion for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, which will cover an estimated 1.36 million qualified public utility vehicles.

Another measure agreed upon during the meeting was the implementation of the voluntary 20 percent ethanol blend for gasoline which is targeted for approval by the end of this year.

Presently, there is a mandatory requirement of 10 percent blend of ethanol with gasoline and the new policy to be implemented is voluntary raising it to 20 percent as part of the government price mitigation measure.

Ethanol, especially those imported, is cheaper than the price of gasoline, Lotilla explained.

The current price of gasoline without ethanol is