Jeepney drivers cry for help amid soaring fuel prices

·2 min read

SOME jeepney drivers in Cebu City have called on the government to help lower the prices of fuel, saying what they get from driving jeepneys are insufficient to meet their daily needs.

Prices of fuel in the market worldwide continued to increase due to several factors, including the Russian oil ban by the European Union caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the prevailing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, increased demand in the United States and China, and the premium in Saudi Arabia crude.

The Department of Energy announced on Friday, June 24, that prices of fuel, particularly diesel, may again increase next week by “a little over P1” due to the current performance of the Philippine peso against the US dollar.

Georgie Sanchez, a 38-year-old jeepney driver, said this series of fuel price increases is hurting drivers considering the fact that they are not getting enough income from driving.

He told SunStar Cebu that his daily income from driving a jeepney is insufficient to meet his family’s basic necessities.

“I earn P2,200 a day, but we need to pay P200 for gasoline, P800 for jeepney rental, plus the boundary fee,” he said in Cebuano.

After all the deductions, Sanchez would often take home around P400.

He appealed to the government to help lower the price of gasoline, stressing it rises weekly but there is no increase in the commuters’ fare.

“The fare stays the same. My income is not enough,” he said.

Many jeepney drivers in Cebu City have stopped driving due to the increasing prices of fuel.

But for Jemar Habierto, a 28-year-old jeepney driver and father of two, he has to continue driving as there is no other option for him.

Habierto said he has no other source of income and his wife lost her job due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He echoed Sanchez’s appeal, saying the oil prices must decrease as he still has debts that he has been paying since the lockdowns at the height of Covid-19 pandemic.

As of Friday, June 24, the prices of diesel and unleaded gasoline in Cebu had exceeded P90 per liter.

In a media forum on Tuesday, June 21, Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival introduced electric vehicles as a viable long-term solution to the oil crisis.

Electric public utility vehicles, according to Archival, would minimize the demand for petroleum. (Irish Delima and Ryan Megabon, CNU interns)

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