A group of jeepney drivers and operators warned it will stage a transport strike if the government fails to act on its petition for a P2 fare hike as oil firms are seen to increase pump prices anew by nearly P1 per liter on Tuesday, marking the eight straight week of increases.
“We can no longer wait for the fare hike promised by [Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board] chairman [Martin] Delgra. So maybe it is better for a one-time, big-time strike,” Liga ng Transportasyon at Operators sa Pilipinas national president Orlando Marquez said in a radio interview.
“Never mind if we die fighting, as long as we do not die because of hunger,” he added.
Delgra earlier confirmed the LTFRB received a petition to increase the minimum jeepney fare to P10 but said the Department of Transportation is more inclined to assist in meeting the financial needs of the public transport sector through service contract programs and
“Pantawid Pasada” cash aid than a fare hike.
On Saturday, Unioil Petroleum Philippines said based on its price forecast for the Feb. 22 to 28 trading week, the price of gasoline will increase by P0.80 to P0.90 per liter. Diesel will likely increase by P0.60 to P0.70 per liter.
On February 15, oil companies implemented a price increase for the seventh consecutive week that resulted in year-to-date adjustments to stand at a total net increase of P7.95/liter for gasoline, P10.20/liter for diesel and P9.10/liter for kerosene.
According to the Department of Energy, crude oil prices extended higher on tighter supply outlook despite easing of geopolitical tensions on the Russia-Ukraine border and a potential return of Iranian barrels to the oil market.
Last week, the DOE warned the high oil price trend may continue in the next two months and will only start to taper off by May or June due to the continuing tightness in oil supply.
DOE director for Oil Industry Management Bureau Rino Abad said supply problems from the members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies helped push up prices.
The LTFRB on Friday said operators of public utility vehicles and those providing delivery services are expected to receive another fuel
subsidy from the government once the program resumes in April this year.
“The DOTr and LTFRB are ready to continue the fuel subsidy program that is eyed to resume in April 2022,” the LTFRB said in a statement.
While the budget for the program has been approved under the General Appropriations Act of 2022, the LTFRB is still awaiting the release of
the funds from the Department of Budget and Management.
The program, it said, will have a total 377,443 beneficiaries who will receive a fuel subsidy amounting to P6,500.
These beneficiaries will include franchise grantees of traditional and modern PUVs, buses, mini-buses, taxis, UV Express, transport network
vehicle services, and tourist transport services.