Eleazar calls for PUV fuel subsidy amid OPH
THE government could make another round of fuel subsidy distribution to ease the burden of public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers who are bearing the brunt of the continuous oil price hikes (OPH), former PNP chief and senatorial candidate Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said the other day.
Eleazar made the call amid the request of PUV drivers to raise the minimum fare hike to P10 to make up for the skyrocketing price of oil products.
“The price of oil is going up while the income of drivers is getting less and less every day. If this problem continues without action from the government, those in the public transport sector and their families will really go hungry, ”Eleazar said.
While he understands the concerns of the drivers, Eleazar said any fare hike at this time is untimely due to the continuing adverse impact of the pandemic that includes loss of jobs and salary cuts.
“This is the part where government intervention is needed and I think the middle ground is to ensure the continuity of the assistance to the PUV sector,” said Eleazar.
After the sixth consecutive oil price hike last Tuesday, another round of price increases is in the offing next week. In the first four days of market trade, there was a P1 per liter hike in gasoline, P0.93 per liter hike in diesel, and P0.59 per liter hike in kerosene.
Transport groups have asked the government to bring the minimum jeepney fare to P10 while their petition to make it P15 is still being studied.
However, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is not keen on approving the drivers’ request, citing the burden that it will cause to the commuters amid the pandemic.
Eleazar empathized with the drivers since he said they could barely earn anything from their daily outings due to the series of oil price increases.
“Kung hindi bukas ang LTFRB sa suhestyon ng mga drayber, sana ay magkaroon na lang ng bagong ayuda sa paraan ng fuel subsidy. Sa ganitong paraan, magkakaroon ng dagdag na pangdilihensya ang mga tsuper,” he said.
Earlier, Eleazar also called on the government to temporarily suspend the collection of excise tax on fuel under the TRAIN Law as another solution until such time that the oil price or the economy normalizes, saying this would lower the price of oil products.
In December 2021, the LTFRB said it had distributed fuel subsidies worth P7,200 to 119,159 jeepney drivers nationwide, or a total of P857,944,800.
“Mahirap talaga ang kalagayan ng mga drayber dahil ipit sila sa nag-uumpugang mga bato. Mataas na ang presyo ng langis at mukhang malabo pang maaprubahan ang petisyon nila na itaas ang pasahe. Dapat ay matulungan sila ng gobyerno,” Eleazar said.