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Malacañang vows to address public transport sector woes

Posted on September 15, 2011

RESUMPTION of fuel subsidies, a drive against dishonest traffic officers and a review of the oil deregulation law were promised yesterday by President Benigno S.C. Aquino III following a meeting with leaders of public transport groups.

The assembly, called by the Palace following pump price hike-fuelled threats of a transport strike, was described by government officials as “constructive.”

The Local Governments department and the Metro Manila Development Authority, said Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail D. Valte, were ordered by Mr. Aquino to address complaints of mulcting and excessive fines.

Energy Undersecretary Jose M. Layug Jr. said the government also committed to continuing the P450-million Pantawid Pasada fuel subsidy program that was implemented early this year.

A funding issue has to be settled, however, as only P70 million of the P300 million allotted for jeepney drivers has been used up, he said.

“Until everyone has obtained their cards, we cannot reload,” Mr. Layug said.

Of the P150 million for tricycle drivers, P140 million has already been spent, he added.

The Department of Energy (DoE) official said Mr. Aquino also directed concerned agencies to work on having oil firms expand their discount lanes.

On the matter of the oil deregulation law, he said the government was already studying refinements, including a provision that would allow the Energy department to immediately sanction overcharging oil firms.

“The review of oil deregulation law is included in the budget of DoE for 2012,” Mr. Layug said.