By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Transport groups warned that jeepney fares may soar up to P12 should the government pursue its plan to increase excise taxes on fuel products.
Lawyer Vigor Mendoza, chairman of the Kilusan sa Pagbabago ng Industriya ng Transportasyon (KAPIT), said they may be forced to ask for at least a P5 hike in the P7 jeepney base fare when the finance department implements the additional tax on fuel products—particularly diesel, which might see a P6-per-liter levy.
“If this happens, we will ask for an increase in fares, increase in profit. Our computation for that, at least for Metro Manila, the minimum fare should be at least P12 when [diesel] hits P40 per liter,” he said in a press conference on Thursday, January 12.
“The P7 fare was actually based on P20-per-liter cost of diesel,” he lamented, pointing out a mismatch to the current fare as diesel now costs about P32 per liter.
Mendoza also hit the government for not consulting their sector in proposing the additional taxes on fuel products on top of the 12-percent value added tax (VAT) meant to generate P180 billion in revenues a year.
“There had been a lot of discussion but we in the transport sector were not consulted,” he said.
Zeny Maranan of the Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (FEJODAP) also raised fears the additional taxes might have a “domino effect” and push up prices of goods and necessities.
“To President Duterte, we appeal that you don’t allow this move because ordinary Filipinos would suffer,” she said.
“We believe that the government needs to raise revenues but there might be other means, those that couldn’t harm ordinary Filipinos,” Mendoza added.
The groups suggested that the administration assist operators in modernizing their vehicles and ease the processes and requirements for them.
“Our vehicles would then be fuel-efficient and increase in the prices of fuel would be neutralized. That would be a long-term solution to the issue,” Mendoza told reporters. “We are willing to renew our units.”