Leody De Guzman bats for 'control' of oil industry, says PUV fuel subsidy 'insufficient'

Josiah Antonio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 26 2021 05:06 PM | Updated as of Oct 26 2021 05:07 PM

Labor leader and presidential aspirant Leody de Guzman. Photos from Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Labor leader and presidential aspirant Leody de Guzman. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Labor leader and 2022 presidential aspirant Leody De Guzman on Tuesday said the government should "control" the oil industry amid the successive hikes in fuel prices.

De Guzman also said the planned cash grants for public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers are "insufficient" and even the proposed suspension of fuel taxes poses problems.

“To cushion the effects of rising petroleum prices, the government needs to intervene and effectively control the industry, even temporarily," De Guzman said.

The presidential aspirant issued the statement after the Development Budget Coordination Committee said P1 billion will be released to subsidize the fuel costs of PUVs.

"This, however, does not excite us as those that are reeling from the effects of high oil prices go beyond the target 178k PUJ [public utility jeepney] drivers of this latest initiative,” De Guzman said in a statement. 

The labor leader said there are more than a million transport workers belonging to the bus, UV, and tricycle transportation sub-sectors.

He added that oil price hikes may continue till 2022 and “the one-time subsidy will not be sufficient to mitigate, much more compensate, for lost earnings.”

“Even the suspension of the excise tax or VAT may not be sufficient especially if we consider its effects to much-needed revenues for our COVID response.”

De Guzman added that promoting renewable energy sources like solar power and using electric vehicles would help reduce dependence on foreign fuel sources.

Prices of petroleum products have spiked for the last 8 weeks, with another hike set for the last week of October prompting lawmakers as well as transport groups to seek suspension of the excise taxes on fuel. 

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi earlier said suspending the excise tax could lower fuel prices by P8 to P10.

However, suspending the measure will result in "substantial revenue loss" of as much as P131.4 billion in 2022, the Finance Department has said. 


Watch more on iWantTFC