March 4, 2024

The Commission on Elections has decided to exempt urgent aid distribution like fuel subsidies from the social services’ disbursement ban currently in place for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE).

Under Comelec Resolution 10944, use of public funds for social services and development will be prohibited from Sept. 15 to 30 in relation to the BSKE on Oct. 30.

Garcia, however, assured the election regulations will not hinder the needed distribution of other urgent cash aids to the public.

Under Memorandum Circular 2023-038 or the Guidelines on the Implementation of Fuel Subsidy Program, around 1.36 million beneficiaries are expected to receive fuel subsidies including public utility vehicle operators, tricycle drivers, and delivery service riders.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board started its aid distribution on Sept. 13.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology and the Department of the Interior and Local Government are also set to distribute fuel subsidies to qualified delivery riders and tricycle drivers.

Garcia also reported the poll body’s approval to exempt the Department of Labor and Employment-Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers cash-for-work program, but with strict requirements.

Only DOLE personnel can conduct the distribution and should not be on barangay levels but in municipal levels, Garcia said.

Comelec Spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said areas under a state of calamity are also exempted.

However, Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation will not be exempted due to its barangay certification requirement, which may be used or politicized by incumbent barangay officials, he said.

The Comelec on Sept. 12 approved the request of the Department of Social Welfare and Development to allow the nationwide release of cash aid to rice retailers affected by the rice price ceilings. PNA