An environmental faith-based organization called for “transport reform” amid the increasing oil prices in the country that is “drowning the already suffering poor into severe condition.”
Living Laudato Si Philippines called on the government on Wednesday, Mary 16, to invest in the development of an “efficient, people-centered, and environment-friendly” transportation system.
“Currently, we do not have a good public transport system. Our roads, especially in major cities, are not built to cater a big number of people,” said Rodne Galicha, executive director of the group.
Galicha said even the bike lanes in Metro Manila cities “were forced to be enforced,” adding that roads in the capital region are made for cars and not for people or for bicycles.
On Monday, a double-digit fuel price increase, which was also the biggest so far, marked the 11th week of rising fuel costs in the country.
The price of diesel fuel increased by Php13.15 per liter while the price of gasoline increased by Php7.10 per liter, bringing the local pump prices to Php84 and Php94, respectively.
Galicha said the government encourages Filipinos to use bicycles, but “it needs to provide the public safe spaces” and “give them reasons why they should not buy cars.”
“Words of encouragement are not enough,” he said. “The government can start with making the MRT and LRT systems more efficient.”
“Instead of building skyway and expressway systems in the cities, the country must invest in building roads that will bring farmers directly to markets where they can sell their produce without the middleman,” added Galicha.
Meanwhile, peasant group Kilusang ng Magbubukid ng Pilipinas called on the government to temporarily suspend oil excise tax that will instantly slash oil pump prices by at least Php12 to Php17 per liter.
Peasant leader Rafael Mariano said apart from the proposed fuel subsidies to affected sectors, removing the excise tax “will temporarily diffuse the debilitating impact of today’s price adjustments.”
The country’s finance department said suspending the oil excise tax will result in Php131.4 billion in revenue losses for 2022.