For small jeepney drivers like Michael Cabral, the possible oil price hikes starting today will surely take additional toll on their current situation considering that they also face the looming jeepney phaseout.

The Department of Energy Oil Industry Management Bureau (DOE-OIMB) attributed the ongoing war conflicts out of the many external factors of “global geopolitical situations” affecting price adjustments in oil.

“Oil futures were little changed Thursday morning, taking a breather after a four-day winning streak attributed to fears of a wider conflict in the Middle East, especially the Israel-Hamas might spread to include Iran; the Ukraine attack on Russia’s oil refineries; the Opec’s (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) decision to continue its policy on production cut; and signs of stronger economic growth in the United States and India,” said DOE OIMB Assistant Director Rodela Romero.

The estimated hikes indicate that gasoline is set from P0.90 to P1.20 per liter, P1.20 to P1.40 per liter for diesel and P1.10 to P1.30 per liter for kerosene. This will be also be the fourth consecutive week of price increase for gasoline prices should predictions are found accurate.

Another difficulty besides surging oil prices

Cabral said he would shell out P1,200 for his usual four trips traversing in the Novaliches and Blumentritt route. The current price for diesel he purchase is P56 per liter.

“Dati libo kung kumita kami, ngayon aabot nalang sa P500 hanggang P600 ang kinikita namin,” he lamented.

[We used to make thousands before, but now we can earn between P500 and P600]

Cabral added that they are also facing challenges due to several modern jeepneys plying along their routes, some of which he observed to be operating out of line.

[We’re already struggling to earn because of the increase in diesel prices. Another difficulty in our travels is the modern vehicles that no longer follow their routes yet still operate]

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issued the Memorandum Circular 2024-006 which required 80% consolidated units to be deployed daily for transport service entities with six or more consolidated units. In cases with less than six, it is required that all consolidated units are deployed daily.

According to Cabral, there are seven jeepney cooperatives in the Novaliches and Blumentritt route.

“Dito sa ruta namin ay marami na sila (modern jeepneys). Ang sabi po kada ruta, isa o dalawa,” Cabral said.

[There are many modern jeepneys plying along our routes. It is said per route that there are about one or two modern jeepneys]

“Kung sa ruta palang namin na may modern ay hindi na nga siguro sila makapagbayad ng unit dahil sa daming coop at unit na nagaagawan ng mga pasahero. he lamented.

[Considering our routes with modern jeepneys onboarding, I believe they can’t even afford to pay for their unit because of the many cooperatives and units competing for passengers]

Cabral is also the MANIBELA chapter president in Novaliches and Blumentritt route. He was also among the jeepney drivers who endured a series of checkpoints in Batangas last February 24.

According to him, his coworkers and operators will never undergo a franchise consolidation despite the extended deadline on April 30.

Last February 7, MANIBELA filed a graft and corruption case in the Office of the Ombudsman against Department of Transportation (DOTr) secretary Jaime J. Bautista, LTFRB chair Teofilo Guadiz III, and Office of Transport Cooperatives (OTC) president Andy Ortega. The Ombudsman has yet to respond even if the group has submitted an inquiry letter on March 13.

“Madaming pasahero at madaming jeep na rin ang bumibiyahe kaya ganon nalang kami makipaglaban para sa aming kabuhayan.” Cabral added.

[With many passengers and numerous jeeps also operating, we really have to fight hard for our livelihood]


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