DOE-Visayas: Fare hike an option to aid PUV drivers amid the oil price increase
MANDAUE CITY, Cebu – Following the successive oil price hikes in the country, the Department of Energy-Visayas Field Office said that there may be a transport fare hike here should the government’s financial subsidies experience further delay.
Lawyer Russ Mark Gamallo, officer-in-charge director of the DOE Visayas Field Office, said the implementation of fare hike would serve as another option to aid the drivers and conductors of public utility vehicles (PUVs) cope amid the oil price hikes.
Gamallo said that currently, the government has no immediate cash assistance that they could provide to the operators.
He said there is a proposal pending approval of the Congress to release and allocate budget for the transport sector affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Other way pending approval ani nga balaod, kinahanglan ang government para ma offset gani og di gyud ta ka provide og additional subsidy cash assistance, another option ra gyud is to allow fare hike,” said Gamallo.
Eduardo Montealto Jr., director the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central Visayas (LTFRB-7), earlier said that there will be no transport fare hike in the region.
Montealto said there would only be an increase here should the proposal to increase the transport fare in the National Capital Region (NCR) be approved and implemented across-the-board.
Gamallo said that it would be up to the LTFRB should they consider the option considering that there is no immediate cash assistance yet.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade recently said they were looking at fuel subsidies and direct financial aid for drivers and commuters to avoid the need to increase fares for public transport.
Tugade said it was not the right time to increase transport fares while the country still barely recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The secretary also stressed that they were looking at uniform discounts on PUVs across all gas stations nationwide. But Gamallo said that it would still depend on the oil companies if they would want to give discounts to PUVs.
Although they have initiatives to ask them to give discounts, Gamallo said that they should also consider the oil companies, which, like many, was also severely affected by the pandemic.
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