Palace to look for ways to help PUV drivers as fuel prices soar

Published October 19, 2021, 7:24 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Malacañang will find a way to assist the beleaguered public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers amid the skyrocketing prices of pump fuel.


Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this assurance in a virtual press conference Tuesday, Oct. 19, or a day after a “big time” price increase was imposed on local petroleum products.

“Alam ninyo naman po iyong presyo ng ating gasolina, iyan po ay nakasalalay sa world prices ‘no (As you know, prices of gasoline are based on the movements in world prices)” Roque said in reaction to the successive pump price hikes the past few weeks.

“Pero titingnan po natin dahil sa mga nakalipas tayo po’y nagbigay ng tulong ‘no lalung-lalo na doon sa mga nagtatrabaho sa transportation sector. Titingnan po natin kung makapagbibigay tayo ng ganiyang tulong (But we will take a look at it because in the past, we were able to provide help especially to the workers in the transport sector. We will see if we can give that type of help),” he said.

The ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has been tough on the transportation sector, particularly the drivers as they were sidelined for months last year while the government grappled with how to mitigate the effects of the public health crisis.

Lately, the fuel price hikes–which reduce their already meager–daily earnings, have become their new scourge. On Monday, local fuel companies increased prices of diesel and gasoline by a significant P1.50 per liter and P1.80 per liter, respectively.

Roque did not specify what kind of assistance the Palace was planning to provide the PUV drivers.

Asked if Malacañang favored increasing the operating capacity of public transport vehicles–something that would improve PUV drivers’ chances of earning more money–Roque said the proposal would have to be studied by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

“Titingnan po natin ‘yan, pag-uusapan sa IATF. Again, itong mga desisyon na ito, ito po’y collegial decision adopted by the IATF (We will look at it and discuss it in the IATF. Again, these types of decisions are collegial decisions adopted by the IATF),” he said.