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Transport groups suspend fare hike petition, citing government fuel subsidy

Transport groups have agreed to delay their planned fare hike petition, citing fuel subsidies to be given by the government amid the continued increase in pump prices of petroleum products.

According to Pasang Masda national vice president Jojo Martin, transport stakeholders have decided to suspend their fare hike petition as the government is expected to release P5,000 fuel subsidies for jeepney drivers.

“Hinihirit nga din namin ‘dun sa House Transport Committee na aside from the fuel subsidy, bigyan na lang kami ng aming tinatawag na discount lane doon sa mga pumping station,” he said in a report on GMA’s “24 Oras Weekend” on Sunday.

[We are asking the House Transport Committee that aside from the fuel subsidy, we also be granted a discount lane in pumping stations.]

“Hindi na tayo magkakaroon ng increase of fare kumbaga, i-hold na lang muna ‘yung pag-apruba ng increase ng fare,” he said.

[We will not have a fare hike, as the approval of the fare hike will be on hold.]

This comes as Martin claimed the government will provide P5,000 for jeepney drivers in Metro Manila and Regions 3 and 4, which will be released through the Pantawid Pasada Card which was rolled out during the fuel subsidy program in 2018.

“Before kasi, meron na tayong existing na Pantawid Pasada Card, i-re-reload na lang po ‘yun, i-a-activate po ‘yun, then ‘yung mga iba naman po nating kapatid sa hanapbuhay na drivers, mga wala pang card, i-a-apply ho ‘yun,” he said.

[We already have the existing Pantawid Pasada Card which will be reloaded and activated. Other drivers who do not have a card will have to apply.]

“We will submit the names of the drivers together with the corresponding requirements,” he added.

At least one driver, however, prefers a fare hike over the subsidy. "Madali lang po maubos ag P5,000, saglit lang 'yun," said Rolando Eugenio. "Pwede sana kung kada dalawang buwan bibigyan nila kami ng P5,000. Pero pag yung P5,000 isang [beses] lang po, hindi po pwede. Kailangan po talagang itaas yung pamasahe."

[P5,000 is easily used up. If they gave us P5,000 every two months, that's acceptable. But if it's just a one-time payment, the fares really need to be increased.]

GMA News has reached out to both the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) regarding the matter but no response has been received.

The LTFRB earlier this month said it is looking into the possibility of a second phase of its cash and fuel subsidy programs for public utility vehicles.

The Department of Energy (DOE) last week also said it is studying how it can tap the excise taxes collected under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law to fund the fuel subsidies.

Pump prices have been hiked for the past nine straight weeks, with the latest data available indicating year-to-date adjustments at a total net increase of P19.65 per liter for gasoline, P18.00 per liter for diesel, and P15.49 per liter for kerosene as of October 19, 2021. — Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas/BM, GMA News