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Transport groups warn of fewer public utility vehicles amid expected diesel hike

Transport groups warned that commuters may face more difficulties in securing rides given another pump price hike expected this week.

According to Samahan Ng Mga Transport Operators Ng Pilipinas Managing Director Juliet de Jesus, there may be fewer vehicles plying the roads in the coming week should there be another increase in the domestic pump prices.

“Asahan po ninyo, kung nagkulang man ng sasakyan nitong week na ito, baka mas marami po magkukulang by next week kung sakali po ayan na naman, meron na namang increase sa diesel,” de Jesus said in an interview on GMA’s “24 Oras Weekend” on Sunday.

(Expect that if there was a deficiency in public vehicles in the past week, there may be an even bigger deficiency by next week in case there will be another increase in diesel.)

Oil industry sources expect prices of diesel to be hiked by between P1.00 and P1.30 per liter this week, while gasoline prices can either be hiked by P0.10 to P0.20 per liter or rolled back by P0.05 per liter.

Data available from the Department of Energy indicate that the year-to-date adjustments stand at a net increase of P28.70 per liter for gasoline, P41.15 per liter for diesel, and kerosene by P4.85 per liter as of June 14, 2022.

According to de Jesus, the government should consider scaling back the excise taxes on petroleum products by half or scrapping such tariffs.

There have been several proposals in Congress to suspend the excise taxes on fuel, which the Department of Finance (DOF) has continued to resist due to the foregone revenues the measure will cause.

For his part, Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association (ALTODAP) President Melencio “Boy” Vargas said the group is now awaiting the second tranche of the fuel subsidies.

“Napakalaking tulong ‘yon dahil siyempre, P6,500 ‘yon kahit papaano. Kung hindi kami makapagtataas kaagad ng pamasahe, napakalaking bagay non. Mga ilang araw papakinabangan ng mga driver ‘yon,” he said in the same report.

“Nananawaagan ako doon sa bagong upo na LTFRB, sana makonsulta kami. ‘Yung consultation importante sa amin eh, para mailahad ‘yung aming mga hinaing,” he added.

(The P6,500 would be a big help to us. If we won’t be able to hike fares immediately, that would be a big deal for us. Drivers would benefit from that for days.

I am appealing to the LTFRB to consult with this. Consultation is important to us to be able to present our concerns.)

GMA News has sought comment from the LTFRB, but their response was not immediately available.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) earlier this month said the second tranche of the P5-billion fuel subsidy program for drivers and operators is expected late this month, or early July.

The program is divided into two equal tranches which seek to provide P6,500 cash grants to each of the 377,000 identified driver and operator beneficiaries.

These include LTFRB-supervised public utility vehicle drivers and operators; tricycle drivers and operators under the Department of the Interior and Local Government; and delivery riders under the Department of Trade and Industry. — DVM, GMA News