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DOE scrambles for ways to ease impact of high oil prices

/ 05:24 AM October 06, 2018

The Department of Energy is doubling down on efforts to mitigate the effect of rising fuel prices, a main driver of worsening inflation, particularly by means of discounts for operators of public utility vehicles.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi yesterday said the DOE was “exhausting all options” to mitigate rising fuel prices, and also called for the public to take up practices through which fuel is used efficiency.

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“Despite global forces affecting the country’s fuel prices, we are in constant communication with the oil industry players on how we can help the public amid the global oil situation,” Cusi said in a statement.

“We’ve been exploring higher and expanded fuel discounts to public utility vehicles, looking at nearby countries for lower priced supply and even went to unpopular options to ensure that consumers are protected from the impact of this global price situation,” he added.

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As the Philippine Statistics Authority yesterday announced that the consumer price index rose for the ninth consecutive month to reach 6.7 percent in September, government economic managers in a joint statement called for a quick response by way of measures managing energy demand, amid an outlook that points to a continued rise in global fuel prices.

“One of the proposed measures is to reduce the country’s overall energy demand through the DOE’s e-Power Mo program, the Public Utility Vehicles Modernization program of the Department of Transportation, and other renewable energy initiatives,” they said.

The e-Power Mo program is an education and awareness campaign that hammers into the public consciousness common tips on using electricity efficiently.

“Moreover, many public utility drivers will benefit from DOE’s continued and expanding partnership with various oil companies to provide fuel discounts,” the economic team said.

“This is apart from a plan by the DOE and the Department of Trade and Industry to grant fuel subsidies to canned sardines and other food manufacturers that are also reliant on fuel products,” they added.

Earlier, the DOE said at least 10 oil firms representing a total of 1,317 retail stations were offering discounts of between P1 and P3 per liter to PUV operators.

These companies include Petron, Shell,  Caltex, Phoenix, Unioil, Jetti, PTT, Seaoil, Filpride, and Total.

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“Simple steps such as carpooling, walking or riding bikes to nearby destinations are some changes that could reduce our dependence on fuel,” Cusi said.

Also, the Department of Transportation is heading the multi-agency Pantawid Pasada Program, a cash transfer scheme which is intended to cover all of the 179,852 “legitimate jeepneys” or those with existing LTFRB franchise within two years of implementing the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law.

The Pantawid Pasada cash transfer will be done in two yearly installments starting with P5,000 per jeepney covering the latter half of 2018. This means a monthly subsidy of P833.33 per vehicle.

The amount will be jacked up for a second installment in 2019 at P20,514.82 or a monthly subsidy of P1,709.57 per jeepney.

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TAGS: Department of Energy, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, Inflation, rising fuel prices
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