By Laura Memoza C. Santillano

THE holiday fever is about to end but to a jeepney driver holidays or regular days are still the same: there isn't enough income to come around. They grumble most about discounts that eat into their earnings. Thus the meeker among commuters would rather just suffer in silence when they are not given such.

Memorandum Circular Number no. 2005-014 of Land Transportation Franchising and Regulation Board (LTFRB) states the grant of 20 percent fare discounts to be availed by students during the school year from Mondays to Fridays.

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The student fare discount cannot be availed of on Saturdays and Sundays, legal and special legal holidays, Christmas and summer breaks. Post-graduate students (those taking up medicine, law, masteral, doctoral degrees and the likes) are also not entitled to the discount.

Under these provisions, jeepney drivers and passengers are provided guidelines to curtail abuses, providing for penalties for those who break, abuse or ignore it. Among the provisions is having at least one copy of the fare matrix inside their jeepneys where passengers can easily see it.

According to Helenita A. Sedoriosa, an officer in the Land Transportation Office (LTO), violations are dealt with according to the severity of the act.

For the first offense: a payment of P500. For the second and third offenses, there will be a payment of P1,000. Recidivists stand to lose their driver's licenses.

Out of 20 passengers, seven are not aware of these provisions. The remaining others are aware but simply ignore or violate it.

Kevin Gomez, a student, said he still avails of the student discount even if it's a Saturday or a Sunday. "Dili man mawala akoang pagka-estudyante kung Saturday o Sunday pa man na (I'm still a student even if it's a Saturday or a Sunday)," he says.

However, Cherry Mae Reyes, another student, who rides jeepneys every now and then, knows about the memorandum circular number and believes that with the extensive information dissemination of the Memo, the drivers should be able to reach their daily quota easily.

For drivers like Nonoy Macariola, a member of UMODA (United Ma-a Operators and Drivers Association), providing the needs of the family is really hard these days.

"Tungod sa kalisod para lang naay mapakaon sa pamilya, ang mga drivers usahay maningil ug dako (Because of poverty, drivers tend to over-rate to provide their family's needs)," he said.

Drivers play deaf about the specifics of this discount scheme, while commuters play deaf about the provisions on when the discounts apply. Both claiming they are in dire need of money. But the fact remains, there is a law that has to be implemented and followed.

Sunday Essays are articles submitted by Masscom students of the Ateneo de Davao University for their advanced journalism class.