Diokno: Suspension of 2nd tranche of fuel excise tax may affect gov’t fuel subsidies
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno
The government assured that it will continue its program that offers assistance to jeepney drivers who are bearing the brunt of surging oil prices.
According to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, the Pantawid Pasada Program, which seeks to provide a fuel voucher worth P5,000 for each jeepney driver, has been allocated with P977 million in the 2018 national budget.
In 2019, they proposed around P3.2 billion appropriation for the program in hopes of hiking the fuel subsidy to P20,000 for each driver.
But following the announcement on the early suspension of the second tranche of fuel excise taxes next year, Diokno warned that the projected budget may be slashed.
“As I’ve said, the Pantawid Pasada for next year is premised on the two-peso adjustment. Now, if the two-peso adjustment is suspended then the Pantawid Pasada benefits will be based on 2018 but that will continue,” said Diokno.
Diokno has earlier assured that the government’s assistance to poor Filipinos, such as conditional and unconditional cash transfer in 2019, will not be affected if the suspension of the fuel excise tax will push through.
With this assurance, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is confident that the budget for the free tertiary education policy next year will be protected.
“We will be in close coordination with DOF (Department of Finance) so that provision for education will somehow not be affected by any deduction,” said CHED Executive Director Atty. Cinderella Filipina Jarp. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue
Limited in-person classes in most colleges, universities to open by February – CHED
MANILA, Philippines – At least 200 universities and colleges in areas under COVID-19 Alert Level 3 will open limited in-person learning by February, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said Thursday.
CHED chairperson Prospero De Vera said most of the higher education institutions (HEI) have opted to open limited face-to-face classes next month instead of January amid rising COVID-19 cases.
“Natapos ko nang i-meet ang lagpas 200 na mga pamantasan nitong nakaraang linggo at ang marami sa kanila na nasa Alert Level 3 ay nag-decide na February sila magbubukas kung sakali ng limited face-to-face,” De Vera said.
“Iyong mga iba naman ay magbubukas ng online tapos magshi-shift sa limited face-to-face kapag okay na ang kalagayan ng kanilang lugar,” he added.
CHED earlier announced it will push through with Phase 2 of the limited in-person classes in HEIs in areas under COVID-19 Alert Level 3 on January 31 after it was allowed by the Department of Health. Universities and colleges under Alert Level 2 can begin anytime.
De Vera, however, said that the initial date they set was just a “reference point.”
“Ibig sabihin, depende iyan doon sa kalagayan on the ground ng mga pamantasan, ang kanilang konsultasyon sa local governments, ang kondisyon ng kanilang facilities, konsultasyon sa mga faculty at students at mag-adjust sila depende doon sa kalagayan,” he said.
Meanwhile, HEIs in areas hit by Typhoon Odette have yet to resume limited classes as repair works in their facilities are ongoing.
De Vera also said that the power supply in some areas has not been restored.
CHED chair De Vera says he contracted COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines – Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairperson Prospero De Vera on Thursday said he has tested positive for COVID-19.
During the Laging Handa public briefing, De Vera disclosed that he and his family are currently under quarantine.
“Ako ay naka-quarantine sa bahay, ang aking buong pamilya ay infected,” he said.
In a social media post last week, De Vera urged his close contacts to go on self-quarantine and monitor themselves for any symptoms.
The CHED commissioner said he is on his way to recovery.
“Pero dahil sa mga tumutulong sa aking mga doktor kasama ang pag-telemed, ako ay unti-unting gumagaling kaya medyo pagpasensiyahan ninyo na at medyo paos pa ang aking boses,” he said.
PNP to monitor public safety as more schools resume limited in-person classes
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday said it will implement a deployment plan within the vicinity of various campuses as more schools are set to resume limited face-to-face classes amid the rising cases of COVID-19.
The PNP issued the statement following the announcement of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) that it will push through with the Phase 2 of the limited in-person classes in higher education institutions (HEI) in areas under COVID-19 Alert Level 3.
CHED earlier said the Department of Health has allowed the in-person classes to commence on January 30 for HEIs located in areas under Alert Level 3, while universities and colleges under Alert Level 2 can begin anytime.
“We defer to the wisdom of CHED in allowing the limited resumption of face-to-face classes. Our primary duty is to make sure the minimum public health standards are strictly observed amid another spike of COVID-19 cases especially in areas under Alert Level 3,” PNP Chief General Dionardo Carlos said in a statement.
He said schools planning to resume limited physical classes should be prepared to welcome back the students, teachers and other non-teaching staff safely.
“These HEIs that are willing to reopen must assume the responsibility of complying with the health and safety protocols,” Carlos said.
Aside from the schools, the PNP said establishments surrounding educational institutions are also expected to begin receiving more customers or clients.
“Thus, they are reminded of the importance of implementing the minimum public health standards like temperature scanning before entry, observance of physical distancing, wearing of face masks, and non-acceptance of unvaccinated individuals if backed by a valid mandate,” it added.
The PNP also urged security officers from the private sector to work closely with the police to better control the gathering of people and prevent the further spread of COVID-19.