Anakbayan condemns gov't for importation, 'insufficient' subsidy amid oil price hike

Progressive group Anakbayan criticized the administration on Monday, Sept. 18 for “depending” on imports of oil and for the “insufficient” subsidy towards Public Utility Drivers (PUVs), farmers, and fisherfolks amidst oil price hikes.

On Sept. 18, 2023, a day before several gasoline companies implement a fuel price adjustment, a jeepney driver refuels at a gas station in Manila. (NOEL B. PABALATE / MANILA BULLETIN)

Anakbayan said that while other countries were securing oil supply, the Philippines remained dependent on imports making the country "vulnerable" to oil price hikes due to low supply and high demand for it.

"Ang ganitong economic framework ng gobyerno ang higit na magsadsad sa mamamayan sa kahirapan dahil pinapanatili nitong atrasado ang lokal ng produksyon (This economic framework of the government will further drag the citizens into poverty, as it pulls the local production backwards)," the group said.

For the 11th week of the price hike in oil, the Sept. 12 to Sept.18 price hike resulted in a year-to-date total increase of P15.50 per liter for gasoline, P7.94 per liter for kerosene, and P11.10 per liter for diesel.

According to the government, Saudi Arabia and Russia's prolonged voluntary oil supply cuts until the end of the year and Libya's oil supply disruption caused the deficiency in oil affecting its prices.

The Department of Energy (DOE) also said that oil prices will continue to increase until December.

Anakbayan also denounced the fare hike considering the government "passing the burden to consumers".

In a press conference on Sept. 13, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III planned to implement a P2-4 fare increase for the PUVs in November or at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, under the fuel subsidy program, the government allocated a budget of P3 billion for the 1.3 million Public Utility Drivers (PUV) and P1 billion for the 312, 000 farmers and fisherfolks.

The modern PUV drivers will receive P10,000 each, while the traditional PUV drivers will receive P6,500 each. The delivery riders will also receive P1,200 each, while P1,000 each will be given to tricycle drivers.

Not enough 

"Napakaliit ng subsidy na ito kumpara sa P40 billion na kinita ng gobyerno noong 2022 mula sa 12% VAT sa langis. (This is too small compared to P40 billion which the government has earned in 2022 from the 12% VAT in oil)", the group said.

Anakbayan also amplified calls on junking the Oil Deregulation Law, removing excise tax, and increasing the salary of Filipino workers. (Lizst Torres Abello)