Lacson wants tricycle drivers included in fuel subsidy program

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 09 2022 07:27 PM


MANILA - Partido Reporma presidential candidate Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson on Wednesday said tricycle drivers must be included in the national government's fuel subsidy program for public utility vehicle drivers.

Under the General Appropriations Act (GAA), the national government can provide aid if the 3-month average price of oil reaches at least $80 per barrel. Tricycle drivers, however, were not included as their franchises are issued by local government units, Lacson said in a press conference in Pasig City.

"Dapat sila, kasama sila sa P5 billion na ire-release sila sa transport sector. Kasi transport sila," he said.

(They should be included in the P5 billion that will be released to the transport sector because they are still part of the transport sector.)

"Kaya lang, sa IRR (implementing rules and regulations) nabura sila dahil ang sinasabi, hindi sila saklaw ng LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board)," the lawmaker said.

(They were just removed from the IRR because it was raised that they are not under the LTFRB.)

The LTFRB earlier announced that public transportation drivers can get around P6,500 each in fuel subsidy as the government eyes a P2.5-billion aid for drivers in the coming days.

While the law has already been passed, Lacson underscored that a provision under the second package of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law states the national government can suspend taxes on oil upon the recommendation of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) should prices hit $80 per barrel.

Congress can amend the law if President Rodrigo Duterte calls for a special session to prepare for the declaration of a state of economic emergency, Lacson said.

"Gusto namin i-revisit sa TRAIN 2, i-open-ended na lang, wala na expiration kasi napaka-unpredictable ng presyo ng langis," he said.

(We want to revisit TRAIN 2 so that we can make it open-ended and without an expiration because the price of oil nowadays are very unpredictable.)

Senate President and vice presidential candidate Vicente Sotto III slammed oil companies who jacked up prices despite having reserves bought at cheaper rates.

"'Di maaalis sa kaisipan ng mga kababayan, baka nagkakalokohan tayo," Sotto said.

(You can't stop our countrymen from thinking that they are being taken for a ride.)

"May mga nakatambak sa tangke... Dapat kapag naubos 'yan, saka itaas ang presyo," he said.

(There are so many fuel tankers on standby... They have to use all those up before hiking prices.)

The Department of Energy (DOE) should monitor the stockpiles of oil companies before authorizing a price hike, Lacson said.

"Mahirapan na ang oil companies, mahiraopan na ang gobyerno ,pero ang mahihirap nating mga kababayan, 'wag na mahirapan," Sotto said.

(The government and oil companies can afford to take a hit, but our countrymen cannot afford to carry this burden.)

Earlier this week, fuel prices in the Philippine rose by P3 to P5 per liter as global supply and demand for oil were affected by the war in Ukraine and Russia.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has proposed increasing the fuel subsidy and discount vouchers for public transport drivers and farmers to more than P6 billion to offset the war's impact on the prices of fuel and basic commodities.

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