By Ben Rosario
Taxicab drivers, together with operators of transport network vehicle service (TNVS) and freight forwarding cargo truck, will be covered by the Pantawid Pasada subsidy program of the government under a legislative measure filed by a House of Representatives leader.
Deputy Speaker and 1PACMAN Partylist Rep. Michael “Mikee” Romero made this proposal as he filed House Resolution No. 349, urging government to allocate funds for the expanded Pantawid Pasada program by using a portion of its income from the Malampaya gas.
HR 349 also proposes to authorize President Rodrigo Duterte to establish a Philippine Strategic Fuel Reserves (PSFR) program that will be government’s response to fuel shortages crisis events.
Romero explained that sudden increases in fuel prices have become heavy burden to TNVS and taxicab drivers that government assistance has become imperative.
The proposal has gained strong support in the House of Representatives as oil prices in the country are expected to soar further due to the recent terrorist attack on oil fields of Saudi Arabia.
HR No. 349 filed also calls for the stockpiling of fuel to respond to adverse situations brought about by oil price shortages.
Romero aired hopes that HR 349 will cushion the economic impact of the sharp rise in oil prices triggered by the drone strikes at Saudi Aramco’s oil processing facilities in Saudi Arabia.
The terrorist attack reduced the production of crude, oil and gas from Saudi Arabia, a principal supplier of the Philippines, it was reported.
Romero said HR 349 grants Duterte the authority to draw the necessary amount of funds from the Malampaya funds to “initially establish the PSFR and implement an expanded Pantawid Pasada cash grants programs.
The legislative proposal also calls on the Energy Regulatory Commission to direct oil firms operating in the Philippines to “maintain their own fuel reserves “at level sufficient to meet 45 to 60 days of daily consumer demand. (Ben R. Rosario)