Vice President Jejomar C. Binay today repeated government’s appeal for a rollback in oil prices, as he also urged jeepney drivers to explore the use of alternative fuel to help bring down their cost of operations.

In a dialog with some 300 leaders of different jeepney and transport groups at the Coconut Palace, Binay also said jeepney drivers and operators are now eligible to become members of the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) or Pag-IBIG Fund.

Department of Energy (DoE) Undersecretary Jay Layug, who was also present at the meeting, said that oil companies are set to roll back gasoline prices by as much as P1.89 per liter and diesel by P1.87 per liter.

“There is sufficient basis for the rollback but I also urge the oil companies to review if a higher rollback would be possible,” Binay said. “Para naman maibsan ang kondisyon ng ating mga drivers,” he said.

The Vice President also called for a deeper look into the use of alternative fuels for the transport sector.

“Hindi na po natin maiiwasan na darating bukas makalawa, ang paghahanap ng alternatibong magagamit ng mga jeep,” he said.

“Paghandaan po natin ‘yon dahil masyado na pong mabigat itong presyo ng gasolina dahil hindi mo na malaman kung magbababa o magtataas iat nadidiskaril ang mga kikitain ng ating mga driver,” he added.

The drivers raised several issues during the dialog, among them the alleged increase in the amount demanded for “kotong,” rising cost of spare parts, and increase in fines for traffic violations. They also requested additional assistance to drivers.

Binay said he would coordinate with the concerned government agencies to look into the possible suspension of the increase in fines pending a more thorough study into the issue, and that he would look into the possible creation of a cooperative as the central supplier of spare parts for jeepneys.

He also advised the officials of the transport groups to report to their respective mayors police officers and traffic enforcers who demand bribes and file cases against them.

The Vice President, who is the chairman of both the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and Pag-IBIG said once the drivers and operators become members of Pag-IBIG, they will be entitled to all benefits available to regular members, including housing and short-term loans.

“Ang pangunahing pong benepisyo ay iyong makapag-utang upang makapagpatayo kayo ng bahay,” Binay said.

The housing czar also said that it was his goal to add more members to Pag-IBIG instead of increasing the amortization and adding burden to its members.

“Sa ating pong isang taong pamumuno, nakapagdagdag na po tayo ng 1.4 million members,” he said.

“Mas maganda na po yung magdagdag tayo ng miyembro kaysa magdagdag ng amortization,” he added.