SENATORS hailed the recent approval of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) of the provisional P1 fare hike which now stands at a minimum of P10 per head that started on June 9, 2022.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said it is “high time” that the government supports the drivers who have been suffering from spiraling gasoline and diesel prices.
“Walang tigil na pagtaas ang nangyari nitong mga huling buwan at kaawa-awa talaga ang mga drayber natin na namamasada lamang sa araw-araw para mabuhay ang pamilya. Sobrang stress na ang dinanas nila dahil hindi alam kung paano pagkakasiyahin ang kita lalo’t walang humpay ang pagtaas ng mga produktong petrolyo,” Hontiveros said.
This comes after oil companies implemented another round of big-time increases in the pump prices of petroleum products this week, with the price of diesel increasing by more than P6 per liter and that of gasoline by more than P2 per liter.
Based on reports, LTFRB Executive Director Tina Cassion said the increase would be applied to public utility jeepneys (PUJs), both modern and traditional, in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite/Laguna/Batangas/Rizal/Quezon), and Mimaropa (Occidental Mindoro/Oriental Mindoro/Marinduque/Romblon/Palawan).
While the LTFRB recognizes the plight of the Filipino people every time an increase in the price of commodities occurs, including the cost of public transport, “it cannot be insensitive to the clamor and plight of PUV (public utility vehicle) operators and drivers who are responsible in ensuring a steady supply of public transport services,” Cassion was quoted as saying.
In an earlier order in March, the LTFRB denied the same request for a provisional increase.
The board will still convene on the main case filed for an additional P5 fare hike.
“We had to address immediately the P6.50 fuel price increase yesterday that’s why the board met today to resolve the motion immediately for recon [reconsideration] for the provisional increase,” Cassion earlier said based on reports.
Based on studies, the PUJ service mode of public transport carries the most number of ordinary commuters daily.
The petitioners were 1-United Transport Koalisyon, Pangkalahatang Sanggunian Manila & Suburbs Drivers Association Nationwide o “Pasang Masda”, Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines, and Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations.
Hontiveros said the government must consider the plight of these public utility jeepney drivers.
“Kailangan natin silang pakinggan at tulungan,” Hontiveros pointed out.
Hontiveros said that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) already knew that a P6,500 fuel subsidy for PUJs would be good for only a month, yet in mid-March, the agency agreed with the recommendation of the economic managers to repress transport fares that have been stuck at their present levels since 2018, when diesel prices were only half of what they are today.
Earlier, Hontiveros had been calling on the government to install a more “sustainable” solution to the rising petroleum prices directly affecting the transportation sector.
For Sen. Nancy Binay, the move to help these drivers will be equivalent to helping thousands of families dependent on their income.
“Our government must exert all effort to ease their problem. They have families to feed too. Habang tumataas ang petrolyo at walang paggalaw sa presyo ng pamasahe ay apektado ang kanilang iniuuwi na kita sa pamilya. Dapat na balansehin natin ang lahat,” Binay said. By Camille P. Balagtas