Transport group to gov't: Grant fuel discount or we'll hike fares

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 14) — A transport group is urging the government to grant a fuel discount to jeepney drivers in light of the tax reform law.

Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) National President George San Mateo said the ₱6 a liter discount should cover the first 30 liters that a jeepney usually consumes in a day.

He added oil companies could then charge the regular rate after the first 30 liters.

"Eh yung mga dinadaya lang ni Presidente mga tulad naming mahihirap eh," he said in a Sunday press conference. "Tingnan natin ang astig niya sa mga oil companies at china-challenge namin siya."

[Translation: The President only cheats the poor. Let's see how strong he is against oil companies. We're challenging him.]

The tax reform law, which was implemented on January 1, hikes excise taxes on petroleum products, including the diesel that jeepneys use.

Read: Lower income tax, higher taxes on sugar, petroleum, tobacco products by 2018

San Mateo said if the fuel discount for jeepneys is granted, they would not seek a fare hike.

However, other transport groups like PASANG MASDA will be pushing through with their petition to increase jeepney fares from ₱8 to ₱12.

The group is also against the implementation of the government's Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program, which was launched in June 2017.

Read: Jeepney drivers, operators to protest at LTFRB offices on Jan. 24

The program aims to phase out PUVs over 15 years old and replace these with vehicles with "low-carbon and low-emission technology."

PISTON and other transport groups are against the program, saying hundreds of thousands of jeepney drivers and operators could lose their business.

CNN Philippines Digital Producer VJ Bacungan contributed to this report.