PUV drivers ask fuel discount

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Monday, March 24, 2014


NOT even the heat of the summer sun stopped jeepney drivers and operators in Baguio from staging a noise barrage and protest Monday lunchtime against the continued increase in fuel prices in the country.

Militant transport group Piston-Cordillera, through its president Carlito Wayas, called for a rollback in prices for public utility vehicles or at least a P6 discount to be implemented in the price of diesel and gasoline in the country.

"Sa loob ng isang taon mula Marso 2013 hanggang 2014 umaabot hanggang P2.65 ang itinaas ng presyo ng gasolina habang aabot sa P 3.95 ang itinaas ng presyo ng crudo. Ang naghihirap na masang Pilipino ang pumapasan sa mga pagtaas ng presyo ng krudo at batayang bilihin," Wayas said.

The protest, a coordinated activity and part of a nationwide protest for the government to cause for the immediate implementation of a P6 discount and reduction of the Common Carrier Tax imposed on jeepney drivers, was conducted at 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Kilometer 0 at People's Park as a way for the group to reach out to other jeepney drivers affected by fuel increases.

The group conducted a noise barrage and gave out fliers to the public discussing the plight of thousands of PUV drivers in the country who hardly have enough earnings to bring home to their families.

The group complained while small jeepney and taxi drivers are not exempt from the Common Carrier Tax, several international transport corporations such as airlines are given a leeway in implementing taxes.

According to the Wayas, in the Cordillera region the CCT was increased from the previous P32 to as much as P186 which is a burden to drivers who have long been complaining about the mounting expenses from increased fines on smoke belching and emission testing among other expenses.

The group also complained against Department Order 39 imposed by the Land Transportation Office increasing fines against private vehicle and public utility drivers which they claim is a "legalized kotong scheme."

Mines View Public Transport Operators and drivers Association vice president Jun Almendral said the increase of P2 in fares requested by other transport groups is not the answer saying it only burdens the commuting public including their families.

Almendral said increasing the fare will only trigger price increases for basic and prime commodities.

The solution they are seeing is the discount to be implemented for jeepney drivers as Wayas said the P45 per liter price for diesel could be lowered to P39 per liter is a big help for public transport.

Wayas stressed they will continue their protests until the government hears the plight of drivers whose contribution to the national economy and public transport has long been undermined.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 25, 2014.

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