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Amid rise in fuel prices, gov't urged to create emergency task force to address transport woes

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Amid rise in fuel prices, gov't urged to create emergency task force to address transport woes
Motorists stock up on fuel before midnight of June 7 as prices are set go up.
Photo by STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — Commuter group The Passenger Forum (TPF) on Saturday called on the Philippine government to create an emergency task force dedicated to addressing issues faced by the transport sector amid the constant rise in fuel prices and inflation picking up pace. 

In a statement on Saturday, TPF Convenor Primo Morillo said increasing public utility jeepney fares by P1 did not solve the income problems of drivers and operators, and noted that the release of fuel subsidies have been insufficient. 

"It seems that it is just right for the government now to form an emergency task force that will quickly look for ways to solve our transport woes. The DOE (Department of Energy) and the DOTR (Department of Transportation) are just ineffective and the DOTR even prematurely celebrated their supposed achievements two weeks ago," he said. 

Morillo said the country is now experiencing what he called a transport emergency, claiming that the government is not able to solve the huge problems which the industry is facing. 

"The transport crisis definitely affects the entire Philippine economy. “This...situation affects the productivity and health of all our workers and of our labor-intensive economic sectors," he said. 

Before the spate of fuel price hikes, there was already a lack of public utility vehicles (PUVs) plying the road. Supply has worsened right now, as PUVs are losing money instead of earning income, he explained. 

Morillo added that country should also study long-term solutions that will eventually veer away from the current system, which is fossil-fuel dependent and centered on cars. 

RELATED: Fewer cars on EDSA as fuel prices soar – MMDA

Pump prices in the country have been increasing since the start of the year due to several global developments, including large oil producer Russia's war against Ukraine. 

This week, domestic oil companies announced another round of fuel price increases. Consumers and motorists had to pay P2.15 per liter more for gas, an additional P4.3 more per liter for diesel and P4.85 more per liter of kerosene, based on oil price advisories.

The spike in fuel prices prompted the government to release subsidies for affected sectors, including the transportation and agricultural industries. Earlier this month, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board approved of the provisional increase of the jeepney fare hike by P1 in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon and Mimaropa. — Angelica Y. Yang with a report from Franco Luna

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