P60-B released to cash transfer beneficiaries as of December 2020 — Landbank

Robie de Guzman   •   April 29, 2021   •   221

MANILA, Philippines — The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has already released P60.36 billion in unconditional cash transfers (UTC) as of December 2020 to beneficiary households of the Duterte administration’s social mitigation program under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

According to LANDBANK president-CEO Cecilia Borromeo, these disbursements were from the funds for the UCT program released from March 2018 up to December last year.

She said that from March 2018 to December 2020, a total of P22.53 billion was disbursed to beneficiaries from the UCT Program Funds under the 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

Another P23.71 billion under the fiscal year 2019 UCT Program Funds was released from July 2019 to December 2020, and P14.12 billion from the 2020 UCT Program Fund in December last year.

Under the TRAIN Law, up to 30 percent of the incremental revenues from the law is earmarked for social mitigation measures, such as the UCTs, while 70 percent is earmarked for the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

Republic Act (RA) No. 10963 or the TRAIN Law, which also slashed personal income tax (PIT) rates for 99 percent of salary earners, was implemented starting January 2018.

RA 10963 benefits salary earners because the hefty cuts in their PIT tax payments translate into extra income for these taxpayers equivalent to about a one-month take-home pay.

This law also adjusted the excise taxes on fuel, which prompted the inclusion of the social mitigation program to ease the initial impact of the adjustments on the poorest 50 percent of the population.

The UCT fund transferred to LANDBANK totaled P24.488 billion under the 2018 GAA.

Another P30.488 billion and P23.298 billion were transferred to LANDBANK for the UCT program under the 2019 and 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAAs), respectively.

For 2018, the law provided a UCT of P2,400 each for some 10 million targeted households.

For the succeeding years of 2019 and 2020, each beneficiary household received P3,600.

The UCT fund for 2018 of P24.488 billion covered the P24 billion in cash grants for 10 million beneficiaries.

While P22.53 billion in UCT funds were disbursed, LANDBANK said that around P1.47 billion has yet to be distributed because it is still waiting for the submission by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) of the remaining payroll files of beneficiaries under the UCT program.

Under the 2019 national budget, the UCT fund amounted to P36.488 billion, of which P6 billion have yet to be downloaded by the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) to LANDBANK, leaving it with P30.488 billion for the implementation of the program.

Of the P30.488 billion, P23.71 billion was released to UCT beneficiaries.

About P6.29 billion in funds have yet to be disbursed, pending the DSWD submission of the beneficiaries’ payroll files.

A total of P5.5 billion of this UCT fund was transferred to the BTr on April 1, 2020, to help fund the government’s COVID-19 response programs, and was returned to the fund on December 29, 2020.

For 2020, the total UCT fund under the GAA was P36.488 billion, of which P13.19 billion have yet to be downloaded to LANDBANK.

LANDBANK said the downloaded sum of P23.3 billion covered the P14.12 billion disbursed so far to UCT beneficiaries in December last year, while P8.9 billion have yet to be released pending the submission by the DSWD of the beneficiaries’ payroll files.

Landbank offers P150,000 loan for private school students under i-STUDY program

Robie de Guzman   •   September 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – State-run Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) is offering loans up to P150,000 per student to families in need of financial assistance to continue sending their children to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

Landbank’s education program, dubbed as the Interim Students’ Loan for Tuition toward Upliftment of Education for the Development of the Youth (i-STUDY), will allow parents, guardians, or benefactors of students in private schools to borrow an amount equivalent to one school year or two semesters, the DOF said, citing a report by Landbank president and CEO Cecilia Borromeo to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

“This program will not only help families who have kids they want to send to school, but will also assist private schools and downstream industries to sustain and continue their operations,” Borromeo said in a statement.

Loans under the i-STUDY program carries an affordable fixed interest rate of five percent per year.

Short-term loans payable within one year are available for pre-school, primary and secondary school students under the program, while term loans payable up to a maximum of three years, inclusive of a one-year grace period on the principal amount are available for tertiary level students.

Loans under the program cannot exceed P300,000 per eligible borrower, Borromeo said.

Landbank’s i-STUDY program was introduced “in response to President Duterte’s call to support students during this time of crisis,” according to Borromeo.

It also launched in May this year a lending program targeting private schools hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.

An initial batch of over 60 private educational institutions have expressed interest in tapping the bank’s Access to Academic Development to Empower the Masses towards Endless Opportunities (ACADEME) lending program.

The program aims to extend credit to private high schools, private technical-vocational education training institutions, colleges and universities with the goal of encouraging students to enroll under a “study now, pay later” setup by allowing their parents to issue promissory notes for their academic fees.

These promissory notes will then be refinanced or rediscounted under the program, with schools allowed to borrow as much as 70 percent of the sub-promissory note per semester and subject.

However, schools can only borrow up to a certain maximum amount based on the net borrowing capacity of the institution.

Loans under the program carry an interest rate of three percent per annum and are payable based on the maturity of the sub-promissory notes but not to exceed three years.

The program is available until June 30, 2021.

DOE urged to create body to monitor new round of fuel tax hikes

Robie de Guzman   •   January 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has called on the Department of Energy (DOE) to create a task force that will closely monitor the implementation of the new round of increases in excise tax on fuel.

Gatchalian made the call as the third and last tranche of tax hikes on petroleum products under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law took effect on Wednesday, January 1, 2020.

He said that under the TRAIN Law, the estimated rate impact on pump price for unleaded premium gasoline would be around ₱1.01 per liter, while the estimated rate impact of the third tranche of the excise tax on diesel price is ₱1.65 per liter.

For 100 percent coal contracted power distribution utilities, the estimated rate impact is around ₱0.03 per kilowatt hour.

The senator said the creation of the task force is aimed to protect consumers from premature price increases and profiteering.

“Kailangan paigtinging mabuti ng Department of Energy (DOE) ang pagbabantay laban sa hoarding at profiteering sa bansa ngayong nakaamba ang dagdag na excise tax sa huling pagkakataon,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

“Huwag na nating hayaan ang ilang mapagsamantalang retailers na ibenta sa mataas na halaga ang kanilang mga lumang imbentaryong produkto, gayong nabili nila ito bago pa man maimplementa ang third tranche ng excise tax sa fuel,” he added.

Gatchalian noted that local oil companies maintain a minimum inventory equivalent to 15-day supply of petroleum products as provided under DOE’s Department Circular No. 2003-01-001 or the Implementing Guidelines for the Minimum Inventory Requirements of Petroleum of Oil Companies and Bulk Suppliers.

The DOE earlier said the new round of fuel tax hikes are only applicable to new stocks imported beginning January 1, 2020. It also advised oil firms to deplete old stocks before implementing new price schemes reflecting the new levies.

Gatchalian also called on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to monitor the prices of goods in the market in order to ensure that unscrupulous businessmen will not take advantage and pass on the impact of higher oil prices to consumers as a result of the third tranche of the TRAIN law implementation.

“Mabigat na sa bulsa ng bawat isa ang pagpataw ng excise tax sa krudo. Sana naman ay huwag na natin dagdagan ang pasanin ng taong bayan sa pamamagitan ng hindi makatarungang pagtaas ng presyo ng mga pangunahing bilihin,” he said.

Over 100,000 “Pantawid Pasada” fuel subsidy cards distributed to operators, drivers —DOTr

Maris Federez   •   December 30, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation announced on Monday (December 30) on its official Facebook page that it has already distributed to more than 100,000 legitimate jeepney operators another round of fuel subsidy under the Pantawid Pasada Program (PPP).

Each operator received Php20,514.76, deposited to their Pantawid Pasada Cash card which they or their driver can use in purchasing fuel.

In total, the government has distributed more than Php2.2-Billion subsidy to jeepney operators nationwide.

One of the more highly effective subvention plan of the government is the “Pantawid Pasada” fuel subsidy program for…

Posted by Department of Transportation – Philippines on Sunday, 29 December 2019

The transport group, Pasang Masda, undermined the said government aid saying that such is not enough for the drivers and operators to recover from the effects of the additional excise tax on petroleum prices brought about by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

Pasang Masda president Obet Martin said a driver spends between Php1,500 and 2,000 every day for diesel.

Although the group admitted that the PPP aid could be of help to their sector, its effect on their expenditures is very minimal.

“So ilang araw lang yun? 10 days lang yun. So pagkatapos nun nganga ang driver. Tulong rin ito pero pansamantala lang,” he said.

The group believes that the only solution for them to recover from the heavy effect of the excise tax on petroleum products is the implementation of a fare hike on jeepneys.

The group, along with other transport groups, plans to file their petition before the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in January 2020 which seeks to have the minimum jeepney fare raised to Php11.00.

The group clarified, however, that they are not opposed to the implementation of the TRAIN Law, as they see the benefits it brings to the government’s Build, Build, Build Program.

This early, the group seeks the commuting public’s understanding amid the impending filing of petition for a fare increase.

“Unawain nyo po ang aming katatayuan sapagkat kayo po ay inuunawa naming. Ayaw namin magtaas, subalit diktado ng pandaigdigang merkado yung pagtaas ng presyo ng petroleum products,” Martin said. (from the report of Joan Nano) /mbmf

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