Transport groups defer petition for fare hike

Maris Federez   •   October 22, 2021   •   268

MANILA, Philippines — Transport groups have announced that they will defer their petition for a P3.00 fare hike.

This was after the House Committee on Transportation convened with the group and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to discuss the said petition seeking an increase in the minimum fare in jeepneys from P9.00 to P12.00.

Pasang Masda President Obet Martin said they have put off their request following the promise from the lawmakers and the DOTr of providing cash subsidy for the transport groups.

“Hindi na namin maitutuloy […] pero naka-pending lang. Naka-file lang kase nakapag-usap na kami sa Congress. […] Nagkasundo na kami tungkol doon sa cash subsidy at tsaka sa fuel subsidy na winu-workout ng DOTr sa mga companies,” Martin said.

He added that their group, the DOTr and the House committee came to an agreement to create a program that will assist the drivers and operators in coming up with measures to alleviate difficulties brought by the increasing prices of petroleum products.

“Ang LTFRB naman gagawa naman sila ng cash subsidy in a form of pasada card. Kami natutuwa na roon. Pag naayos na lahat yan we will withdraw the said petition dahil bibigyan ng subsidy yan as allowance o pasada card malaking tulong na sa amin yun,” Martin said.

In 2018, the government distributed fuel vouchers to jeepney operators and drivers following the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

Under the law, legitimate transport operators and drivers receive Php5,000 to Php20,000 fuel subsidies.

Meanwhile, transports groups also appealed to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to increase the operation of public utility vehicles to 100 percent capacity.—/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Janice Ingente)

House aims to pass bill on oil excise tax reduction before session break

Maris Federez   •   November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Before the session breaks in December, the leadership in the House of Representatives is determined to approve the proposed legislation that seeks to reduce excise taxes imposed on petroleum products.

House Deputy Majority Leader Representative Jesus ‘Bong’ Suntay said they also expect the Senate to do the same.

“I’m sure mapapasa namin yan before December on the part of the House. Pero ang mga kasamahan natin, mga senador natin, want to give it as a Christmas gift to Filipinos who have been hit hard by the pandemic,” Suntay said.

In the House version of the consolidated bill, the solons are pushing for a zero excise tax to be imposed on gasoline, diesel, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for six months.

Excise tax on low octane gasoline used in tricycles, on the other hand, will be reduced to Php 4.35 per liter.

Suntay said the House leadership is determined to approve this the soonest time possible, noting that it is not only the transport sector who is being affected by the high price of petroleum products but the general public as well.

“Hindi naman yung transport sector who carries the burden of this additional excise tax. Lahat ng tao hindi lang public utility vehicle driver o jeepney drivers ang tinamaan, kundi lahat ng tao tinamaan ng pandemya. I believe kailangang naman na ibalik natin, di ba?” Suntay explained.

He further clarified that the Lower House is not seeking for the suspension of the excise tax under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law but to just cut a small percentage of the tax imposed by the said law. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

DOTr asks Google to include PH bike lane routes in map app

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Thursday said it has requested Google to include the country’s bike lane routes in the dashboard of its popular real-time navigation app Google maps.

The DOTr said the inclusion of bike lanes on Google maps will help cyclists on their daily commutes.

“This will be a very good innovation for Google Maps considering that many Filipinos now are riding bikes as their main mode of transportation which brings significant health and environmental benefits especially amid the pandemic,” DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a statement.

Google has yet to approve DOTr’s request but Tugade expressed confidence the tech giant will most likely pursue the suggestion as it is a supporter of active transport.

“We have asked Google to consider this suggestion top priority considering the increasing number of Filipino cyclists. We are confident that we can win their support on this,” said Tugade.

The DOTr said it has already completed its 500-kilometer bike lane network in metropolitan cities across the Philippines.

The bike lane network includes Metro Manila (313.12 kilometers), Metro Cebu (129.47 kilometers), and Metro Davao (54.74 kilometers).

Bike lanes have pavement markings, physical separators, solar-powered road studs, thermoplastic paints, road signages, and bike racks.

The project was funded under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, the DOTr said.

Pangilinan proposes expansion of fuel subsidy to other PUV drivers in 2022

Maris Federez   •   November 22, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Pangilinan wants the coverage of the government’s fuel subsidy beneficiaries to be expanded next year once the prices of petroleum products increase anew.

During the Senate deliberation on the 2022 budget of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Pangilinan proposed that a special provision be added to the General Appropriations Bill for 2022.

Pangilinan said this will extend the coverage of the Pantawid Pasada Program to public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers once the prices of crude oil in the world market go up to USD 80 per barrel.

“It can or may include taxi, tricycle drivers, ride-hailing, delivery services considering that we are still in a state of emergency,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan said the fuel subsidy is only limited to legitimate public utility jeepney franchise grantees.

Senator Grace Poe who sponsored the DOTr’s budget agreed to Pangilinan’s proposal.

The DOTr’s proposed 2022 budget for its fuel subsidy program is at Php5-billion.

“The aim of this Php5 billion is for 365,000 units of PUV to be subsidized at 13,500 per unit. But if we can expand the program so that those in the other types of PUV can be covered that would certainly be welcome if we can find funding for that,” Poe said.

Transport group, Pasang Masda, welcomed this Senate initiative.

“Maganda na yung may mga initiative na ganito na talagang mayroon silang mga magandang programa para sa mga drivers ng pampublikong sasakyan. Ako’y nagpapasalamat dito,” said Pasang Masda president Obet Martin.

Martin, however, said drivers are still awaiting the fuel subsidy for this year.

He also called on Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chairman Martin Delgra regarding the implementation of fuel discounts in select gasoline stations.

“Ang ceiling na hinihingi namin P3 hanggang P5 kung makakaya nila hanggang sa mataas lang ang presyo ng petroleum products. Eh ngayon nga medyo bumababa na, eh hindi pa rin namin nararamdaman ‘to,” Martin said.

The group also hopes that the government’s free ride project will continue in 2022.

The DOTr has allotted around Php10-billion budget for the service contracting program for 2022.

Poe said the Senate Committee on Public Services will look closely at the transportation department’s implementation of its programs to ensure that PUV drivers are well-protected. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

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