On the heels of the Marcos administration’s extension of the free ride scheme in the EDSA bus carousel until the end of 2022, members of the transport sector are asking the government to continue the implementation of fuel subsidy to riders and drivers affected by the high price of petroleum products.
Jun De Leon of Laban TNVS said transport app workers might also be forced to stop their activities without additional aid.
“Hindi ka na mananawagan ng tigil-pasada. Kusa na silang tumitigil dahil lugi po eh. Kung makikita mo ang mga taxi, ang mga jeep, TNVS, talagang pumaparada na. At nakakatakot pati ‘yong mga motorcycle taxi, kahit matipid ito sa gasolina, ay tumigil na rin,” he told ABS-CBN TeleRadyo on Friday.
“Hindi sapat ang libreng sakay at kailangan po ito. Kaya panawagan natin sa bagong administrasyon ng pangulo natin na si Pangulong Bongbong Marcos na tignan po kung papaano matulungan ang transport sector.”
De Leon added the subsidy they have received under the Duterte administration was not enough.
Motorcycle taxi riders like Alfredo Jocum agree with the benefits of regular aid.
His P6,500 subsidy last June came in handy for their expenses when he could not take rides for 4 days that month.
But for him, more than aid, government should address the high cost of fuel.
Despite an incoming set of price rollbacks this week, Jocum fears it would only be offset by another slew of price hikes.
“Kung sa taas talaga ng gasolina lagi, dapat talaga mayroon (ayuda) kasi ang hirap naman din ng biyahe. Pero kung ibababa naman nila ‘yong [presyo ng] gasolina, ok lang naman kahit walang ayuda, kahit papaano sa ano namin, nakakaraos kami ng biyahe,” he said.
However, other TNVS drivers such as Michael Llave are still waiting to get their share of the subsidy.
To save on gas, Llave like many drivers resorted to staying at one place while waiting for bookings.
“Minsan nakakauwi ako kulang-kulang mga 1,500 mahigit. Kasi may mga loan pa kami sa Grab, e binabawas sa amin ng Grab. Pero okay lang,” he said.
“Ganoon talaga eh. Antaas. Pero minsan may mga gasolinahang mabababa ang price. Tiyagaan na lang.”
Transport group Stop & Go Coalition said it prefers subsidy to be given out instead of removing the excise tax to cut oil prices.
The group’s president Zaldy Ping-ay said via text message to ABS-CBN News they are calling on the Marcos administration to implement fairness in the subsidy distribution.
“Ang panawagan lang namin ay isaayos ang pagbibigay ng mga subsidiya. Ang tax kasi ay parang alkansiya natin ‘yan para in case na may biglaan na pangangailangan may dudukutin ang gobyerno,” Ping-ay said.
“Sana naman yung fuel subsidy ay dapat maipamahagi nang maayos hindi lang selective. Tutal sa part naman ng pasahero ay extended ulit yung free ride sa EDSA carousel kaya dapat meron din monthly na fuel subsidy sa hanay namin.”
The Department of Budget and Management said in June they are looking for funds to continue with the subsidy.
Marcos, who said he will prioritize aid over suspending the excise tax, has yet to appoint an energy secretary.