Senate sets aside P3 to P5 billion for free bus rides, fuel subsidy for 2023 budget
Senator Sonny Angara said Sunday that the Senate has allocated funds in the 2023 national budget for the continuation of fuel subsidies and the free ride program.
In an interview with dzBB, Angara said around P3 to 5 billion was allocated forfuel subsidies of the transport sector and the fisherfolk.
“There will be a fuel subsidy…It’s around P3 to 5 billion. We will still add to that. Because of the rising price of fuel, many people are affected so some fishermen do not go to the sea. So I think it will be a big help. Even the transport sector has a fuel subsidy. So both the DA (Department of Agriculture) and the DoTr (Department of Transportation) received it,” Angara said.
Angara said the “Libreng Sakay” or the free bus ride program will also continue into next year with the support of Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate Public Services Committee.
“Libreng Sakay is also included in the budget. They added it. Senator Grace Poe is in charge of that. She’s really focused on assistance to drivers, to operators of PUVs (public utility vehicles, tricycles, all of them will receive aid. Fuel vouchers and Libreng Sakay, those are the programs that will help ordinary citizens,” he said.
Angara said the 2023 budget will focus more on the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic compared to last year’s budget which was focused on response.
“The 2023 budget which the Senate and the Congress are drafting today, compared to the 2022 budget, shifted its focus to recovery. That means it’s more concentrated on the recovery of the nation. The recovery of different sectors that were severely impacted by the pandemic,” Angara said.
“We still have aid but it’s not going to be in the same form as before when millions and millions of families were given aid. Almost all Filipinos were given aid because there were lockdowns. Now it’s different. Now it’s more targeted, meaning we only give aid to specific sectors,” he added.
Angara said the budget for aid was slashed from P300 billion to P110 billion and will only be distributed to indigent families availing of the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program).
The Senate on Friday terminated the plenary debates for the proposed P5.268 trillion national budget under the General Appropriations Bill (GAB).
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri previously said that Congress expects the GAB to be enacted into law before Christmas. Jaspearl Tan/DMS