PISTON to Rody: Droop excise tax on gas with EO

Public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and operators on Sunday called on President Rodrigo Duterte to pass an executive order to suspend the excise tax on fuel to help alleviate the plight of their ranks after the successive major price hikes.

In a Super Radyo dzBB interview, Mody Floranda, Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) national president, said the transport sector has not yet recovered from the changes in fuel prices initially brought about by the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

The jeepney and bus drivers’ group is thus determined to ask Duterte to address their demands before he steps down from office on June 30, Floranda added.

“We are really determined to call on the Duterte administration that maybe he can make an executive order to suspend the implementation of high taxes on petroleum because our livelihood is really suffering,” he said in Filipino.

In its fuel price forecast for the May 17 to 23, 2022 trading week, local firm Unioil said the price per liter of diesel may go down by P2.90 to P3.00. Gasoline prices may roll back between P0.40 to P0.60 per liter.

Floranda said PISTON will also work on a transport agenda they will propose to the next administration.

“We will ask the next president of our country to amend or abolish the Oil Deregulation Law, TRAIN Law, e-VAT and excise (tax) on petroleum products so that at least the people’s livelihood can be kept up,” he added.

Presumptive President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. earlier said he preferred to push for oil subsidies and the reactivation of the Oil Price Stabilization Fund.

This statement deviated from the stand he and his running mate, presumptive Vice President Sara Duterte, previously took that the government should “suspend excise tax on fuel imports as a form of subsidy for oil companies.”

Meanwhile, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has apprehended 13 premium taxis since March due to their “colorum” operation of charging passengers with a fare per person instead of the approved meter-based rate.

In a statement, the LTFRB said these premium taxis were apprehended following complaints made by passengers.

This month alone, it said eight premium taxis were seized due to the said violation, including four who were apprehended on Tuesday.

“Five were apprehended again in separate operations in March and April,” the LTFRB said.

Out of the 13 impounded premium taxis, it said 12 were operated by G.V. Daraman Transport while one is being managed by SRRCA Araneta Transport Corp.

“A fine of P200,000 will be imposed against the operator of these premium taxis and the vehicles will be impounded up to three months after payment, based on Joint Administrative Order 2014-01,” the LTFRB said.

It said the erring operators may also have their certificate of public convenience (CPC) revoked.

It reminded the public to avoid colorum public utility vehicles (PUV) — vehicles that are operating without a license from the LTFRB — to avoid inconvenience and to ensure compliance with health and safety protocols.

Premium taxis were earlier introduced under the “Taxi Modernization Program” under the Department of Transportation’s Department Order 2019-007 and are supposed to charge a meter-based rate, the same as regular taxis.

These premium taxis are bigger than regular taxis, they are usually multipurpose vans, utility vans, or sports utility vehicles.