Philippines: Truckers seek fuel subsidies

MANILA, Philippines — The Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP) is seeking government’s help through fuel subsidies on the back of rising fuel prices.

CTAP president Maria Zapata hopes the government will eventually recognize the need to grant subsidies to the trucking industry, similar to the policies in other ASEAN countries, as they are part of the logistics chain.

Trucking in the country is treated as a commercial activity and not as a public utility.

The government earlier released fuel subsidies of up to P6,500 each to some 115,000 public utility drivers and operators amid the spiraling prices of oil and petroleum products.

Zapata said CTAP is coordinating with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for the possible extension of fuel subsidies to its hard-pressed members.

She said a list of the group’s members as well as the number of trucks they are operating have already been submitted to the DTI.

“The DTI is negotiating but we know that this is not up to the DTI, they are just the facilitator. The decision is with the Department of Energy,” Zapata said.

CTAP earlier adjusted its trucking freight rates by some 30 percent to ease the impact of soaring oil prices.

The adjustment is to enable them to “continuously provide an exceptional and quality service to their respective client.”

Zapata said their trucking freight rate hike remains reasonable as oil prices have more than doubled compared to last year.

She said some 40 to 60 percent of the expenses in the trucking business is fuel.

Domestic pump prices have been on an uptrend in 13 out of the past 16 weeks. The Department of Energy has attributed this to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, along with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in China which have driven demand.