Transport authorities eye 2nd round of fuel subsidies for PUV operators

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 14) — Transportation authorities eye another round of fuel subsidies for operators of public utility vehicles (PUVs) as pump prices continue to rise.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) executive director Joel Bolano on Wednesday said they will submit a proposal to the Department of Energy (DOE) on the proposed amount of fuel subsidy and the number of beneficiaries.

Data from the DOE show fuel prices have increased by around 40% since the start of the year. The cost of gasoline has gone up by ₱17.85 while diesel is now higher by ₱16.50.

"As mentioned by the DOE, we are coordinating with them for another possible phase of ating (our) fuel or cash subsidy for our PUV operators... yung recovery nito hindi mapupunta sa ating (its recovery will not be shouldered by the) riding public but it will be subsidized by the government," Bolano said at a hearing of the House Committee on Transportation.

"We are preparing the proposal to DOE to include magkano ang amount and ilan po ang beneficiaries na ipapasok natin (how much and how many beneficiaries will be included)," he added.

Meanwhile, Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary Steve Pastor appealed to lawmakers to provide funds under the proposed ₱5.024-trillion national budget for 2022 for the continuation of the service contracting program.

Pastor said the program will benefit both commuters and PUV operators, whose income has been impacted by the pandemic.

"We of course continue to appeal to the honorable members of the House of Representatives as well as the Senate that the Department of Transportation through the road sector is truly in need of funding to continue the contract of service so that we can ensure the viability of operations of public transportation," he said.

Transport groups on Wednesday formally filed a petition for a minimum jeepney fare hike, from P9 to P12. The petition covers routes within Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon.

The Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (FEJODAP) said they do not want to burden passengers, but they need the fare increase to survive amid limitations on passenger capacity.

"Sa pasahero namin, patawarin niyo po kami, hindi namin gusto ito, gusto lang namin magtulungan tayo para maka-survive kami," FEJODAP president Ricardo Rebaño said.

[Translation: To our passengers, please forgive us. We need your help in order to survive.]