Ka Leody: subsidy for transport workers insufficient; sees temporary oil industry regulation as immediate solution


Ka Leody De Guzman, presidential candidate of Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), says that in light of the recent spate of oil price hikes, the 1 billion peso subsidy released by the Malacañang to the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is not sufficient because it does not cover all road transport workers reeling from spiraling prices and the said project will not mitigate the negative impact to the livelihood of transport workers and ordinary citizens. De Guzman said, “What the government want is to shock us with the sudden billion they are allocating as subsidy for PUJ drivers. This, however, does not excite us as those that are reeling from the effects of high oil prices go beyond the target 178k PUJ drivers of this latest initiative. In fact, there are more than a million transport workers belonging to the bus, uv and tricycle transportation sub-sectors.” The presidential aspirant from the labor sector also explained that the global oil price hikes may spillover to 2022 and the one-time subsidy will not be suufficient to mitigate, much more compensate, for lost earnings. This also reflects government’s short-sightedness in dealing with that have ripple effects on the economy and all sectors of society, especially the marginalized. Ka Leody reminded the public of how previous subsidy programs displayed gross inefficiency and corruption. “Our situation can quickly go from bad to worse as the recent spate of oil price hikes will further push inflation up and will result to rising prices of basic commodities,” he added. “To cushion the effects of rising petroleum prices, the government needs to intervene and effectively control the industry even temporarily,” De Guzman suggested. In order to immediately and effectively cushion the impact of price hikes, Ka Leody recommends invoking Section 14 of the Oil Deregulation Law which would allow the Department of Energy (DOE), during a state of national emergency, to impose price control mechanisms on the industry and intervene by importing for stockpiling to ensure stable costs. “In our estimates, our current situation is too extraordinary to leave to ordinary solutions. Even the suspension of the excise tax or VAT may not be sufficient especially if we consider its effects to much-needed revenues for our COVID response,” he added. Ultimately, Ka Leody believes that alongside the need to regulate the oil industry, the aggressive promotion of renewable energy sources such as solar power and a push for electric vehicles are potent ways to reduce our dependence on foreign fuel sources.

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