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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau



13 October 2021 05:43:59 PM

The House Committee on Transportation on Wednesday tackled the continuous rise in prices of petroleum products amid the pandemic, with the hike beginning significantly in January this year. During the online hearing, Committee Chairman Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento (1st District, Samar) said the oil price hikes severely impacted the public transport sector as he sought solutions from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Department of Energy (DOE). DOE- Oil Industry Management Bureau (OIMB) Director Atty. Rhino Abad affirmed that the pump price of gasoline nears the P20 mark, He cited that gasoline now costs P17.85 per liter; diesel, P16.50 per liter; kerosene, P14.19 per liter; and LPG, P20.24 per kilogram. Transportation Assistant Secretary Steve Pastor said the DOTr acknowledges the issue of oil price hikes and are already discussing with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) some possible remedies to be implemented at the soonest possible time. Pastor again appealed to Congress for help in funding their Service Contracting Program (SCP) which would also benefit public utility drivers. The SCP is unfunded under the 2022 General Appropriations Bill (GAB). Likewise, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra III confirmed that there is already a petition for a fare increase, and their office has met with the DOE for data gathering and data analysis relative to the oil price increases. Moreover, LTFRB Executive Director Joel Bolano said that they are also coordinating with the DOE for another possible fuel or cash subsidy for the PUV operators and drivers. Meanwhile, PISTON President Mody Floranda said since the implementation of the Oil Deregulation Law, the government lost its power to monitor fuel prices in the country, as this has been delegated to big oil companies. Moranda also said that this year's oil price increases have added to the woes of public transportation drivers and operators, in addition to decreased income due to low ridership during the pandemic. Sarmiento said he would immediately file a resolution on the subject, and that they would also hold an executive session to thoroughly discuss and determine the relief to be provided to public transportation drivers. He personally requested the presence of DOE, DOTr and LTFRB officials, as well as transport group leaders, in this executive session.