MANILA, Philippines — On Wednesday, Malacañang announced that President Duterte approved a ₱200 monthly subsidy for poor Filipino families as an alternative to suspending the fuel excise taxes.
The subsidy plan was recommended by the Department of Finance. DOF said that rather than suspending fuel taxes that will only benefit the rich, the ₱33.1 billion subsidy should benefit the “bottom 50% of all Filipino households.”
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said that 12 million Filipino households would benefit from the monthly subsidy.
Acting presidential spokesman Martin Andanar announced that the Department of Budget and Management will release guidelines on claiming the subsidy. This will detail which LGUs will release the money, as well as a list of viable beneficiaries.
Through a Facebook post, Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes expressed his dismay. “So out of touch are Duterte and his economic managers that they think giving people ₱200 a month will assuage the burdens they face everyday.”
Senator Grace Poe also chimed describing the cash aid as a “pittance” because the daily ₱6.66 it amounted to would not even be enough to cover the jeepney fare.
Senator Francis Pangilinan that lowering fuel prices will still benefit more people, both drivers and commuters alike.
DOF rebutted by detailing that the government can’t afford to lose the ₱138.8 billion revenue if fuel taxes are waived.