Fuel subsidy for jeepney drivers sought

Published by rudy Date posted on October 15, 2021

by Danessa Rivera – The Philippine Star, 15 Oct 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A senator yesterday urged the government to revive the fuel subsidy provided by the government under the Pantawid Pasada program to help the transport sector and cushion the impact of rising oil prices on commuters.

Citing global oil supply and price movements, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian made the call following seven consecutive weeks of oil price increases.

“I call on the government to protect our drivers and passengers. This is where the Pantawid Pasada program will come in. It is funded by the government to lessen the impact of the increase in oil prices,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

He also asked the Department of Energy (DOE) to monitor the compliance of oil companies with the inventory requirements to ensure adequate fuel supply and help mitigate further price increases in the coming months.

On Tuesday, oil firms increased prices by P1.50 per liter for diesel, P1.45 per liter for kerosene and P1.30 per liter for gasoline.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on energy, said there is a potential average increase of P1,422.50 in the monthly expense of jeepney operators for gasoline and an average increase of P598.36 for diesel.

To cover for the three-month subsidy of the estimated 178,244 valid franchise holders of public utility jeepneys nationwide, the government will have to shell out at least P914.16 million, according to Gatchalian.

He said the price of gasoline increased to P58.85 per liter this month compared to P51.25 in October last year. Diesel prices rose to P47.90 per liter this month compared to last year’s P35.46.

“Our situation can worsen because apart from the winter season, many economies around the world are gradually opening up and using more and more oil. We expect fuel prices to continue to increase in the global market until the end of the year,” Gatchalian said.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the DOE is studying measures, which include the suspension of excise tax, to protect consumers from massive fuel price hikes.

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