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PNoy, transport leaders to discuss oil price hikes Wednesday

Leaders of transport groups grumbling about the recent oil price increases will have a chance to personally air their grievances before President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday. At a press briefing on Tuesday, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Aquino will hold a dialogue with the transport leaders around 2 in the afternoon in Malacañang. He said the meeting is not intended to avert the planned strike of transport groups but to discuss the sentiments of the drivers and operators. “Hindi po si Pangulo nakikipagpulong sa kanila dahil sa takot sa transport strike… We are very, very open to a discussion of their concerns, with their issues," Lacierda said. Asked if there will be anything concrete the government will offer to the transport groups, Lacierda said: “Let’s wait and see for the dialogue to pursue and we will inform you as soon as we have details of the dialogue." He said the President wants to hear first the concerns of the transport industry before offering anything. “Mas konkreto po kung ano talaga ang concerns nila at [ang] isasagot po ng ating Pangulo bukas." Pantawid Pasada program Lacierda said there is no confirmation yet if there will be a second tranche of the Pantawid Pasada program, a fuel subsidy given to jeepney and tricycle drivers early this year to help them cope with oil price hikes. “I think there will be concerns on the implementation of the Pantawid Pasada—that will be explained. As to whether we will be giving a second tranche, that remains to be seen. But that is part of the discussion," he said. Lacierda said it will depend on the discussion if the government will be open to the provisional fare hike being proposed by certain transport groups. To join the President during the meeting are representatives from the Departments of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), and Energy (DOE). Lacierda said Aquino met this morning with DOTC and DOE officials to know the developments on the Pantawid Pasada program and toll fee. “It’s the concern on the transport groups so you need to involve all the agencies concerned. Will you involve DOE, DOTC, and so pinag-usapan po ‘yon and tomorrow, magkakaroon po ‘nung pag…[‘yung] mga concerns nila ia-address po ng mga appropriate agencies," Lacierda said. He clarified that some jeepney operators failed to get a subsidy because of their failure to submit the official receipt and certificate of registration being asked by the DOE. No overpricing He also insisted that there was no overpricing on oil products as the transport groups have already been informed how to compute the price. “They were told or they were informed how to do the computation of the oil price hikes or oil price decreases. So alam na po nila kung ano po ang tamang pagbaba o pagtaas." He added the government is trying to make sure that the prices in the local and world market are the same. “We are trying to make sure that inilalapit po natin kunwari pagbaba po ng langis sa world market, we hope to approximate or malapit ‘yung pagababa rin po ng local prices po natin dito. So ‘yan po ay pinag-aaralan po ngayon ng DOE, ng DOTC, ng mga appropriate agencies concerned para maipaliwanag sa kanila po, sa mga transport groups tomorrow—the mechanics," said Lacierda. — KBK, GMA News