Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
The Department of Energy is urging local oil companies to provide fuel discounts to public utility drivers to help cushion the impact of increasing fuel prices on transport fares. Energy Undersecretary Jose Layug Jr. has confirmed that the DOE is in talks with Petron Corp. and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. on a possible discount of as much as P1 a liter for diesel.
Under the agreement selected stations would have a special lane to be opened to public utility drivers specifically for this program. Petron chair Ramon S. Ang has confirmed in a text message that they would support the government discount program but did not indicate the amount it was willing to provide. Pilipinas Shell has also confirmed that its Pepeng Pasada discount for jeepney drivers would be increased from the current 50 centavos to P1 per liter in selected stations.
This attempt to soften the impact of the merciless upswing of the prices of local petroleum, which has increased five times since the middle of December last year, may sound good on paper and make for good publicity but those of us in the provinces shouldn’t allow that news to get our hopes up. For one, whatever discount jeepney drivers can get, if ever there will be any, will be applied to selected stations only. That means that the number of public utility vehicles who can avail of the discount will not be enough to affect an inevitable call for a transport fare hike given the current prices of fuel.
Another reason why a P1 per liter discount on fuel for jeepney drivers will mean almost nothing to those of us in Negros is that the price of fuel here is already and inexplicably almost P5 higher than in Metro Manila. We would appreciate it more if the DOE can find the resolve to compel oil companies to explain this hideous discrepancy in fuel prices and if it cannot be reasonably justified, force them to immediately lower the prices of fuel to levels that are closer to the prices of the same exact commodity in other parts of this country.
If the DOE is truly interested in helping cushion the impact of increasing fuel prices on the common man, then they might want to look at the fuel situation here in Negros Island. Compared to our compatriots in Luzon, we Negrenses have been paying for ridiculously overpriced fuel for way too long. We would truly appreciate it if someone from our government looked into this matter ASAP and took immediate action.*