SOME drivers in Negros Occidental will observe the Drivers' Holiday starting 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 15, amid the series of big-time oil price hikes, a local transport group leader said.

Diego Malacad, secretary-general of the United Negros Drivers and Operations Center (Undoc), said Tuesday, June 14, that members of Negros-Bacolod Transport Coalition who will observe the Drivers' Holiday will not be sanctioned by their operators.

"It's a holiday for the public utility (PUJ) drivers, so they will not be placed under disciplinary action by their operators because they can no longer cope with the rising fuel prices," he said.

Malacad noted that they expect about 30 percent of the PUJ drivers in Negros Occidental who will not report to their operators so they can find another alternative livelihood to sustain their families.

"It's up to the PUJ operators now to manage their units, but for now, they cannot oblige their drivers to report," Malacad said.

He said the Drivers' Holiday will continue to be observed as long the fuel prices will not go back to the trade being stated by the government.

"The drivers who will observe the holiday can go back to their operators anytime with no penalties or violations unlike in the past when some drivers were fired after joining the protest," he added.

Despite the increase in fuel prices, Malacad said the transport group will not seek a fare hike "because it's not a solution to the problem."

"It's an additional burden to our passengers so we decided not to seek a fare hike," he said.

The Undoc official added that they will submit a letter to the office of Bacolod Representative Greg Gasataya, as well as to the office of Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson on Wednesday, June 15, seeking their support to their call for the national government to defer the excise tax on fuels and to reduce the 12-percent Value Added Tax (VAT) into six percent.

It is now up to the incoming administration to provide a solution to this problem, he said.