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Senators are requesting greater cash assistance for PUV drivers as oil prices rise.

MANILA, Philippines — Senators demanded on Wednesday that aid to public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and operators be expedited in the wake of the current large-scale oil price hike enacted by oil firms.

Senator Joel Villanueva, in a statement, encouraged the administration to speed up the disbursement of aid to the transportation and agriculture sectors.

Villanueva lobbied for an additional PHP2-billion in aid on top of the government’s existing PHP500 million in gasoline subsidies for farmers and fishermen.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, meantime, wants the petition to raise the minimum fee of public utility jeepneys evaluated as soon as possible to enable drivers to earn more money in the face of rising fuel prices.

“Ang petisyon sa taas-pasahe dapat timbangin mabuti.” The minimum fare in 2018 is P9 pesos. Double na ang itinaas sa presyo ng krudo, marapat lang siguro na pakinggan ang hinaing ng ating mga tsuper The PHP9 minimum fee was not implemented until last year. “Now that diesel prices have more than doubled, it’s time to listen to PUV drivers,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

She also encouraged the government to use the excise tax on gasoline to fund the service contracting program and improve public transportation.

The government has upped the total budget for targeted subsidies to PHP6.1 billion to help soften the impact of higher fuel costs on the most vulnerable sectors.

Over 180,000 PUV drivers and operators had already earned their PHP6,500 gasoline subsidy under the government’s Pantawid Pasada program as of June 1, 2022, according to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

In addition, more than 158,000 farmers and fishermen will each receive a PHP3,000 gasoline subsidy.

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