P10 minimum jeepney fare sought
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - September 19, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Five jeepney transport groups filed yesterday a petition before the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) seeking an increase in the minimum fare from P8 to P10.

In their three-page petition, the Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Fejodap), Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization (ACTO),  Liga ng Transport Operators ng Pilipinas (LTOP), Alliance Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Altodap) and Pangkalahatang Sangguniang Manila and Suburbs Drivers Association (Pasang Masda) said there is a need for a fare hike following a spate of increases in oil prices the past months.

The groups said they also received reports of an impending hike in diesel prices that would result in lesser income for their drivers.

“It is just and necessary to seek relief with the honorable board and pray for increase of the minimum fare for the first four kilometers from P8 to P10 in order to cover the increase in diesel price, spare parts and other operational cost for our (member-drivers) and operators,” the petition read.

The petition covers Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) and Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) regions – areas with the most number of registration of motor vehicles.

ACTO president Efren de Luna said the current P8-fare was commensurate to a diesel price of P25 per liter.

“The price of diesel now is around P32 to P33 per liter,” De Luna said in a press briefing.

The series of oil price hikes, De Luna said, had taken a toll on the daily earnings of drivers that he pegged at now only about P400 after being on the streets for 13 hours.

“That is the earning of a driver who buys diesel and has to pay a boundary of at least P1,000,” he said.

Heavy traffic, prices of spare parts and corrupt traffic enforcers extorting money are among the other expenses of drivers, he said.

If the petition is approved, it would translate to additional earnings of P200 to P300 a day, Fejodap president Zenaida Maranan said.

They clarified what they are seeking is only an increase in the minimum fare and not for the succeeding kilometers.

“I know the commuters would understand our situation,” Maranan said.

They assured the public they would implement a provisional rollback of fares once prices of fuel go down.

While they are aware of the 30 percent increase in fuel prices, LTFRB board member and spokesperson Aileen Lizada said they have to deliberate on the petition as it would affect 3.2 million passengers.

“The increase has a social impact, therefore the board must thoroughly deliberate on the matter,” she said in an audio message.

Lizada also said the LTFRB will seek comments from various commuter groups in a hearing set on Sept. 27.

Considering the plight of jeepney drivers and their families, the Associated Labor Union (ALU) said it has no objection to the filing of the petition to increase the jeepney fares despite measly increase in their daily take-home pay.

Minimum wage earners in Metro Manila were given a P21 increase by the regional wage board on Sept. 14.

ALU noted that the petition for a P2 jeepney fare hike will still go through the process of determination.

It also expressed hope that the LTFRB will involve labor groups in the consultation.

Anakpawis party-list, however, objected to the proposal, saying this would substantially affect the poorest of the poor.

In a statement, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao said he was holding the Duterte government “culpable for the proposal” that stemmed from the recent increases in fuel prices, particularly diesel. – With Ding Cervantes, Mayen Jaymalin

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