Jeepney, bus fare hikes to push through in November

MANILA Jeepney and bus fare hikes will take effect in November as the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) turned down Tuesday an appeal filed by a commuters' group seeking to stop the implementation.

In its decision, the LTFRB said the motion for reconsideration filed by Arlis Acao and Rodolfo Javellana of the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters (UFCC) did not raise new issues that would lead to a review of its earlier decision to grant the fare hikes.

On the merits of the motion for reconsideration, upon careful examination by the Board, the instant motion failed to present new issues for the Board to reconsider its earlier findings. It is apparent that the issues raised therein had already been passed upon by the Board in resolving the instant petition for fare increase as the same issues were raised by oppositor Acao in his opposition filed on June 13, 2018, the board said in its decision, which was signed by Chairman Martin Delgra III and board member Ronaldo Corpus, with board member Aileen Lizada dissenting.

Wherefore, in view of the foregoing premises, the Board resolves to deny the motion for reconsideration filed by the oppositor on Oct. 23, 2018 and the decision dated Oct. 18, 2018 stands, the decision further read.

Last Oct. 18, the LTFRB approved a PHP2 increase in the minimum jeepney fare from PHP8 to PHP10 in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Southern Luzon; a provisional PHP1 fare hike from PHP10 to PHP11 for ordinary buses; and PHP12 to PHP13 for air-conditioned buses in Metro Manila.

In its appeal, the UFCC said the fare increases will burden commuters while jeepney and bus drivers are earning enough income.

Meanwhile, Lizada said the LTFRB must have provided an opportunity for the commuters' group to air their views on the matter.

The board, she added, should also have taken into consideration the guidance of the National Economic and Development Authority on the fare increase.

According to Lizada, the NEDA has proposed a PHP0.50 fare increase for jeepneys, to mitigate its inflationary impact on commuters.

This Office should be the refuge of those who have less in life. This Board owes them a judicious and thorough procedure where everyone is given an opportunity to be heard and not bar them by mere technicalities, the LTFRB official said in her dissenting opinion.

On the other hand, Delgra said the commuters were given an opportunity for their views to be heard on the issue.

He said the LTFRB has conducted eight hearings that were attended by Acao and the National Council for Commuters Safety and Protection.

"To say that 'we owe our stakeholders more than just a 32-minute and 40-second discussion on a very important matter that affect public interests,' is regrettably to trivialize the entire honorable and serious proceeding the Board has collectively undertaken," Delgra said in his concurring opinion. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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