The youth group Student Christian Movement of the Philippines hit the government for offering “band-aid and ineffective solutions” to the record oil price increases in the past days.
In a meeting on Tuesday with his Cabinet, President Rodrigo Duterte approved a proposal to provide a monthly subsidy of Php200 (about US$4) per household for indigent families for one year.
The president said the subsidy amounting to Php33.1 billion would benefit the “bottom 50 percent” income level, or 12 million households comprising about 70 million people.
“Napaka-‘insensitive’ na kung ano-anong mga hindi lapat sa lupa na mga mungkahi ang inilalatag ng gobyerno,” said Kej Andres, spokesperson of the group.
In a statement, the National Union of Students in the Philippines said the price hike is impeding the safe reopening of schools.
“Students across the country are about to go back to the classroom only to face significantly higher prices for commercial gasoline and oil,” said NUSP president Jandeil Roperos.
He said the situation “consequently hammers motorists and eventually impedes the return of students to physical classes because of the burdening transport fees and prices of commodities.”
The student leader said the effect of the global instability in the supply and distribution of crude and refined oil products has been locally magnified by the “ruthless implementation of the regressive tax scheme … as excise taxes add to the plight of the masses and the studentry.
An environmental faith-based organization earlier called for “transport reform” amid the increasing oil prices in the country.
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.
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.