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Councilor questions LTFRB, taxi operators forcing drivers to gas in respective stations 

A LAWMAKER echoed the woes of taxi drivers forced to buy fuel at a higher cost from their operators’ garages.

Councilor Angelo Mahipus raised the concern during the 20th City Council’s regular session on Tuesday, May 7.

“Most of our taxi drivers are complaining about the policy of their respective operators to let them gas their taxis at their operator’s gas station only. There are instances, mas mahal ang gasolina doon sa taxi operator,” Mahipus said.

He added that some of the operators put a lock on the unit’s gas tank preventing it from being refueled apart from the operator’s gas station and ensuring drivers comply with the said policy.

Nonito Llanos III, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) XI regional director responded this is attributed to the Fuel Subsidy or Pantawid Pasada Program of the Department of Transportation provided to the operators.

The distribution of the fuel subsidy aims to alleviate the impact of fuel price hikes to drivers and operators, which follows the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 02, series of 2023 on the Implementation of Fuel Subsidy Project for Fiscal Year 2023 and succeeding years. 

Llanos confirmed this is going on as the cards are given to the operators, hence they encourage their drivers to gas in respective stations so that the fuel will be charged in cards specific for every unit.

He however said the board has not received any formal complaint from a driver affected by the ongoing practice, especially the overpriced fuel. 

“We have no clout on the particular practice of the operators, but then we always encourage the operators to be humane to the drivers as they will have no business without the drivers, so it should be a back-and-forth relationship,” Llanos said.

Mahipus asked whether the board is responsible for fuel price monitoring, which Llanos said was beyond their mandate. However, they will endorse any formal complaint lodged in their office to the concerned departments/agencies.

The councilor asked the LTFRB to at least inspect the operators’ facilities to ensure they comply with existing laws. Llanos said they would look into the particular issue and consider it an isolated case.

In the existing mechanism of the Fuel Subsidy Project, LTFRB provides subsidy cards to the operators through the Landbank of the Philippines with P6,500 per unit. 

All the qualified beneficiaries must strictly use the cards for fuel payments and purchases only and if beneficiaries use the cards to withdraw cash from ATMs and purchase goods besides fuel, the account will be subjected to closure and the card will be blocked. 

Apart from termination, the LTFRB shall also issue a show cause order for the delinquent beneficiaries. 

Ryan Sia, Regional Taxi Operators Association of Davao and operator of Krizia Taxi, said the reason why they want their drivers to gas in their respective stations is to ensure fuel quality.

“For me, ang supplier nako is one of the big three fuel companies, if we compare it to the gasolinahan sa gawas, diperensyado jud, kay we know the quality of the big three compared sa generic,” Sia said.

“Big Three” refers to the top three companies in the oil industry: Petron, Shell, and Caltex. 

Sia clarified they stick to the price of their fuel supplier as they also do not want their drivers to resign. 


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