P3 rise in palay cost seen, ride-hailing group eyes P15 base fare hike
An umbrella group of agricultural organizations has warned consumers to brace for an increase in the price of rice in the coming weeks while a network of ride-hailing drivers and operators pushed for a P15 base fare hike amid spiraling oil prices.
According to the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG), fuel accounts for 60 percent of their production cost as they use tractors, machineries, and mills.
Palay farm gate prices may go up by at least P3, SINAG president Rosendo So said.
“The fuel subsidy being extended by the government covers only less than 10 percent of the total farmers and fisherfolk in the country. It is too small,” So said.
An immediate solution to bring down prices of goods, So said, is to temporarily suspend the excise tax on fuel by three months as prices of oil products went up for the 11th straight week, with diesel at a staggering P13.15/liter increase.
Under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, excise tax stands at P10 per liter for gasoline, P6 per liter for diesel, and P5 per liter for kerosene.
Meanwhile, the Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) Community – which has about 25,000 members – appealed to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to approve their petition for a P15 base fare increase.
“We can’t take it any longer. Our drivers’ take-home pay has become insufficient,” the group said.
The petition was filed in November 2021, but the LTFRB has yet to take action on it.
Earlier, the Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines implemented a 30-percent increase in trucking freight rates on the back of skyrocketing fuel prices, a move that is expected to push upward prices of goods.
Maria Zapata, president of CTAP, said the group’s members would implement a 30-percent increase in their respective truck rates to enable them to provide an exceptional and quality service to customers.
But the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Thursday said it does not expect prices of basic and prime commodities to increase even as it has started reviewing suggested retail prices (SRP).
“Based on our discussion with manufacturers and retailers, they have an existing inventory. We expect that they will produce their products, at this time, using those inputs,” Trade Assistant Secretary Ann Claire Cabochan said.
“Hopefully, there won’t be a price increase in the near future, but we are studying it,” she added.
The Palace, for its part, defended its P200 additional monthly subsidy – or the equivalent of only P6.66 a day – saying it is better than nothing.
The government will start the distribution of the P200 monthly subsidy to poor Filipino families this March, Malacanang said, defending the small “ayuda” as better than nothing.
“According to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, it is what we can afford as of today. Obviously, we can only give what we can because if we exceed, we will have to borrow again,” presidential spokesman Martin Andanar said.
“Only members of 4Ps will receive the said subsidy, which will be on top of the amount they are already receiving from the government,” he added.
The Palace said there are 4.2 million households who are 4Ps beneficiaries as of February 28, 2022. They receive P6,000 a year or P500 per month per household for health and nutrition expenses and P3,000 for one school year.
“We will add P200 to that because of the inflation and because of the increasing prices of fuel products,” Andanar said.