Soaring jet fuel prices will result in higher plane fares.
Aviation fuel reached a high of $163 per barrel in May 2022, more than double the $78 per barrel in 2021.
The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said prices continued to spike in June, warranting another increase in fuel surcharge in July to Level 11 from the present Level 7.
Level 11 would enable airlines to collect a fuel surcharge of P355 to P1,038 per passenger for a one-way domestic flight and from P1,172 to P8,714.84 for international flights originating from the Philippines, depending on the distance of the flights.
CAB has set the maximum fuel surcharge at Level 20 but expressed hope it will not be reached as world oil prices continue to go up.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the committee on energy, underscored the need to plan for the worst in terms of increased domestic prices of diesel and gasoline as the Russia-Ukraine war continues to rage.
At present, Gatchalian said three proposed solutions are being floated to cushion the impact of high petroleum prices.
They are fuel subsidies for public transport, a suspension of excise taxes on fuel and increasing the biofuel blend.
He said if the situation is protracted, the government needs to make sure there are sufficient funds to sustain the public transport fuel subsidies under the “Pantawid Pasada” program.
He also cited the need to dispense the subsidies more efficiently so that drivers will be protected from the rising oil prices.
Senator Imee Marcos, meanwhile, asked the Department of Energy for its proposal to help sectors badly affected by the increasing fuel prices.
Marcos said the proposal for nuclear energy is “seductive” but would take a long time. “Maybe we are looking for quick wins in the next few months because we will be faced with this problem and the sectors that will be impacted are so large—transport and agriculture—and neither of which will benefit from the nuclear proposal just yet,” Marcos said.
Energy Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza Jr. admitted that it is a challenge to respond accordingly but they are looking at the subsidies system.
Erguiza also urged Filipinos to conserve energy.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said transport groups lamented their declining income due to the surging fuel prices and the lack of subsidies from the government.
Earlier, Pimentel and Senator Grace Poe called for the suspension of excise taxes on fuel, saying they would file bills to provide consumers relief from soaring gas prices.
But President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has said he prefers to provide aid to the sectors affected by the continuing increase in fuel prices instead of suspending the excise tax on oil.
Marcos said decreasing the excise tax on oil products does not help those affected by the soaring prices.
He said those who are directly affected, especially the transport sector, should be given priority.