Editorial: Rising Fuel Prices, Rising Commodity Prices

IF YOU have been commuting lately, you may have noticed the difficulty of getting a ride in a public utility vehicle (PUV) like a taxi or jeep.

According to transport groups and some drivers, it is not easy to get around these days as some drivers have chosen to quit driving and seek other employment due to rising oil prices.

In April this year, several taxi drivers revealed to SunStar Davao that their daily income had decreased due to the recent price hike.

Tots, a 58-year-old taxi driver, revealed in a previous interview in April that he had stopped driving due to the continued rise in fuel prices.

“Sa pagkakaron, lisod kaayo. Ang unsay income karon, itapal na lang sa essence ug renta ugma (From now on, it is really difficult to pursue stable income. My driving income would mainly go to buying gasoline, while at the same time, another part would go to the taxi rent the next day),” he said.

Tots said he drove 15 to 16 hours a day just to mitigate rising fuel prices.

Transmission-Piston (Piston) General Secretary Larry Arguelles said fuel prices had risen about 30 PUV since January 2022. He said it was not easy for drivers and operators to PUV to cope with this as they also had other expenses — car rental, daily necessities, spare parts and tires, to name a few.

“Napugos sila [operators] and undang lang wala na sila mapuga in ilang sakyanan. Mahimo lamang dakong problema sila niini (That’s why some operators are forced to stop operations because they can’t make money from their units anymore. It would just be an extra burden for them),” he said. -he declares.

Arguelles said that on a certain route with 30 units in service, only 10 are currently in service.

However, rising fuel prices don’t just affect drivers. It also has a domino effect on our local economy.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announced on June 7 that headline inflation rose to 5.4% in May 2022 from 4.9% the previous month.

“The Russian-Ukrainian conflict has disrupted the global supply chain and driven up commodity prices, especially for fuel,” Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said.

PSA said in a statement that the rise in inflation was “due to higher annual growths in the food and non-alcoholic beverages index at 4.9% and the transport index at 14.6% “.

Food inflation also “increased further to 5.2% in May 2022, from 4.0% in April 2022”.

“The rise in food inflation was mainly influenced by the double-digit annual growth in the index of vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas and pulses at 15.2%, and the oil and fat index at 13.6%,” PSA said.

The agency also noted a slight rise in inflation for flour, bread and other bakery products, pasta and other cereals (4.8%); Meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals (5.4 percent); Fish and other seafood (6.2%); Milk, other dairy products and eggs (1.5%); Sugar, confectionery and desserts (8.7%); and Prepared meals and other food products, nec, (3.5 per cent).

Chua said that to mitigate inflation, the government should continue to implement “the issuance of Executive Order (EO) No. 171 and the government’s fuel subsidy program.”

“EO 171 extends the validity of EO 134 and EO 135, which lowered most favored nation (MFN) tariff rates for the importation of pork and rice. EO also reduces MFN tariff rates for maize at 5% in-quota and 15% out-of-quota, citing that maize accounts for more than 50% of the total production cost of large-scale broiler and pig farms,” Neda said in a statement. communicated.

Regarding the fuel subsidy, Neda said that “the government has increased the total targeted subsidy budget to 6.1 billion pesos.”

“As of June 1, 2022, over 180,000 PUV drivers and operators have received their fuel subsidy of 6,500 PUV under the Pantawid Pasada program. At the same time, over 158,000 farmers and fishermen are also expected to receive 3,000 PUV in the form of fuel discounts,” Neda added.

Seas will be rough for Filipinos and local businesses in the coming months as prices for goods and transportation rise. The meager savings or income that most of us have will be “gobbled up” by the rising prices of various commodities. At present, many Filipinos and local businesses are trying to get through the month or day on a shoestring budget.

We hope the government can find other solutions that will slow or mitigate the effects of rising fuel and commodity prices.

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