Public hearing on P2.50 fare hike proposal urged

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Friday, May 9, 2014


CEBU CITY -- The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman ordered the regional office Thursday to hold a public hearing on the petition to increase the fare by P2.50.

Current minimum jeep­ney fare in Cebu is P7.50.

LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez said that LTFRB Central Visayas Director Ahmed Cuizon may proceed to hear the petition of the Cebu Integrated Transport Service Cooperative (Citrasco) to increase the fare to P10 for the first five kilometers.

Cuizon said they will set the date for the hearing once he receives a formal memorandum from the LTFRB Board ordering them to conduct the public hearing.

Citrasco Chairman Benjamin Ryan Yu filed the petition last March 3 yet, citing the increasing prices of fuel, spare parts and tires.

The petition, which does not seek to increase the existing rate of 75 centavos per succeeding kilometer, has been forwarded to the LTFRB central office.

Ginez said that in handling fare hike petitions, the LTFRB Board has the option to conduct a public hearing on its own or delegate the conduct of hearings to the regional director, including the acceptance of evidence and position papers from those who oppose it.

“The regional director shall submit the result of the investigation or hearing together with his recommendation to the Board. In so far as this case is concerned, we will direct the regional director to conduct the hearing,” Ginez said.

The LTFRB chairman said it will be up to Cuizon to schedule the hearing once he receives the directive from the central office.

Speaking before the LTFRB Transport Summit at the Elizabeth Hotel Thursday, Citrasco’s Yu said it is good that Ginez decided to delegate the public hearing to LTFRB-Central Visayas.

“Due to peculiarities of the situation, may we request that decision of the regional fare adjustment be done at the regional level,” Yu said.

He added that in the past, fare increase petitions were decided on by the LTFRB central office based on evidence presented by Metro Manila transport groups only.

Yu lamented that fare adjustment in the provinces is usually implemented based on the petitions filed by transport groups in Metro Manila, even if the regions have different issues and concerns, needs and cost of living.

Ginez assured Citrasco that its petition will be decided on based on what will be presented during the public hearing.

“The peculiarities on your current situation will hopefully be very well ventilated in all your submissions so that we will appreciate it in the central office. Meaning to say, we will decide on it based on what you have presented, and of course, the recommendation of our regional director,” Ginez said.

Reacting to the proposed fare hike, Bayan Muna Visayas Chairman Jaime Paglinawan said any increase on jeepney fares is untimely because the commuters, who are mostly wage earners and students from poor families, are suffering financially.

Paglinawan said that instead of a fare increase, the government should abolish the 12-percent value added tax and stop the increase of fuel prices.

Ramie Inopiquez of Kadamay Cebu said any increase in jeepney fare will render useless the P13 cost of living allowance that the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board granted earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Ginez said the request of the Cebu South Mini Bus Operators Association (CSMBOA) and the Cebu Provincial Bus Operators Association (CPBOA) for an extension of the operation of 15-year-old buses was forwarded to Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Abaya.

He said the government has adopted a policy to keep all buses that are at least 15 years off the streets by January 2015 in line with the transport modernization program.

CSMBOA Chairman Julito Flores said that Cebu bus operators have invested a lot of money in the transport industry and at present, they cannot afford to buy brand new buses, which cost at least P2.8 million. (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 09, 2014.

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