NORTH COTABATO—As oil companies impose the biggest increase in fuel prices for 11 weeks straight, Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday, March 15, laid down a four-point plan to address the oil price hike that burdens commuters, motorists, and public utility vehicle drivers.
In a media interview at the North Cotabato Provincial Capitol in Matalam, the presidential candidate bared her plan to provide “ayuda (cash aid)” to affected drivers, including delivery riders, hold a special session in Congress to discuss fuel taxes, service contracting for drivers, and shift to e-vehicles.
Fuel prices jumped on Tuesday, the 11th day of the continuous hike due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with +P13 on diesel, +P10 on kerosene, and +P7 on gasoline.
Robredo said a short-term approach to address the ballooning prices is to provide “ayuda” or cash aid, which has been done before.
“Pero kailangan kasi i-expand ‘yung base (We need to expand the base). Meaning to say, kahit ‘yung mga TODA, kahit mga delivery drivers, dapat isali na ngayon. Kasi, dahil sa taas ng—dahil sa laki ng itinaas, apektado silang grabe (even the TODA, even the delivery riders, they are included now. Because of the rise—because of the increase, they are affected),” she stressed.
However, there are three long-term approaches the Vice President, who holds an Economics degree from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, wants if she becomes the country’s next president.
First, the Congress should hold a special session to discuss other “intervention,” such as the suspension of excise tax, socialized tax suspension, or reduction of taxes.
Second, Robredo said it is time to talk about service contracting, wherein drivers will receive a fixed salary every month instead of the boundary system.
“Nasuweldo na sila, hindi boundaries system para hindi ganito kaapektado sila ng changes sa gasolina (They are earning wages, not boundaries system so they are not this affected by changes in the gasoline),” she added.
And third, she wants the Philippines to stop depending on gasoline, which should pave the way for shifting to electric vehicles or e-vehicles such as e-jeeps, e-trikes, and e-buses.
The Vice President shared that she has been pushing for service contracting and a shift to electric vehicles since the start of the pandemic.
“Ako (Me), it’s about time na seryosohin na natin ‘yun kasi, itong mga galawan sa mga presyo sa mundo every time na merong crisis, apektado lagi eh (to be serious about that because the movement of the prices in the world every time there is a crisis, always affected),” she explained.