FILE PHOTO: LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III
QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Some transport and commuter groups are dismayed by the sudden cut in jeepney fares without proper consultation from stakeholders.
The minimum jeepney fare of P9.00 took effect on Tuesday from the previous P10.00.
Tuesday (December 4) was supposedly the second hearing of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on the group’s petition to rollback the minimum jeepney fare to P8.00 instead of P9.00.
“Bakit bigla-bigla nilang kinansela itong hearing na ito? Ano ang dahilan? Bastusan na ba ito?” said RJ Javellana of the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters (UFCC) group.
The UFCC argued that the rollback was not enough because the price of oil has already been slashed many times to a significant amount.
Avellana said, even bus fares should also be rolled back following the oil price drop.
“Taong 2008 buwan po ng Mayo, ang presyo po ng diesel ay P46.40. Ang presyo po ng pamasahe ay P8. Ang pamasahe po kahapon P10 pesos. Ngayon ay P9.00 pesos pero ang diesel po ay naglalaro sa P38.80,” Avellana argued.
The transport group insisted that the LTFRB should have held a consultation or a hearing on the price cut prior to its implementation.
Efren de Luna of the Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (ACTO) said fare cuts or fare hikes shouldn’t be based solely on the price of oil.
De Luna said maintenance cost, discounts for senior citizens and students, the color-coding scheme as well as the traffic situation are also significant factors to be considered in planning for fare adjustments.
The group added that their petition for fare increase have long been stalled and have already incurred them losses in income.
“Dating nakakaanim na ikot kami, dahil sa matinding traffic naging apat na lamang ang pag-ikot namin edi napakalaki ng pasahero na nawala sa amin,” De Luna lamented.
Meanwhile, former LTFRB Board Member Atty. Aileen Lizada expressed support to the complaints of the transport and commuters’ groups.
She believes that the resolution for a fare cut was drafted and released in haste.
“Ang proseso kasi nauuna si board member Corpuz and then to my office and then last si Chairman Delgra. So yung natanggap kong resolusyon tama yung protocol Corpuz, ako. Pero yung nilabas nila, Corpuz (to) Delgra. Hindi na idinaan sa akin when in fact I have 2 copies of the draft resolution signed by board member Corpuz,” Lizada said on the alleged breach of channeling in the recent fare reduction.
However, Lizada clarified that the agency has the power to impose fare reduction even without a petition and if the latest fare increase is only temporary.
Because of the controversy, the groups called on LTFRB Martin Delgra to resign as they accuse him of mismanaging the agency.
Delgra has yet to respond to their call.
Lizada, meanwhile, whose term in the LTFRB ends today, calls on her former colleagues to be more open and to listen to the queries of the agency’s stakeholders.
“My message to the members of the board: have time to dialogue with your stakeholders. Hindi po natin sila kalaban. Listen to them. If you want their cooperation, be open enough to meet them. Let us not meet them only when we need something from them. Let us meet them especially when they need us. That’s why we are placed there,” Lizada concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)