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April 19, 2024

Up to P17 billion in excise tax from cigarette manufacturers can help fund PUV drivers’ cash assistance program

The national government has more than sufficient funds to underwrite the billions of pesos needed to subsidize the cash assistance program for the transport sector, according to the Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez.

At today’s Philippine Economic Briefing held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Dominguez said up to P17 billion has already been identified to finance the subsidy program for public utility vehicle drivers (PUV) requiring only P2.5 billion.

Dominguez told financial reporters the cigarette manufacturers have between P15 billion to P17 billion that it can advance to the government or more than enough resources to back the cash subsidy for PUV drivers and help them weather the adverse impact of the series of fuel price adjustments in recent months.

According to Dominguez, the contribution of the cigarette manufacturers comes in the form of advances in excise tax payments who based the expected revenue flow on their monthly purchases of excise tax stamps as their products leave their factory premises.

“We have more than enough resources to finance the cash subsidy program for PUV drivers,” he said.

He also brushed aside concerns that the payout program, which is coursed through the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK), ought to be deferred from implementation on account of the ban on spending during the run-up to the presidential elections in May this year.

Dpominguez insisted that the cash assistance program proceed without delay as part of the government-wide effort to extend relief to those sectors hardest hit by the ongoing pandemic.

“No, the cash assistance program should proceed without delay,” Dominguez said.