Oro Councilor seeks to suspend taxi rate hike

A CITY Councilor in Cagayan de Oro is seeking to suspend the increase in taxi rates, which he alleged is being implemented without consultation at the local level.

Councilor Teodulfo Lao Jr., chairperson of the committee on public utilities, said he is set to hold an inquiry to determine how the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) came up with the new fare schedule.

Under the new LTFRB order, the flag-down rate for taxis is still P40, but passengers will now pay P13.50 for every kilometer, instead of P3.50 per 300 meters. Drivers can now also charge P2 per minute of waiting time.

Lao questioned the new order, saying it is ideal only in crowded cities like Manila where snail-paced traffic flow is experienced everyday.

"But not in Cagayan de Oro, we have a flowing traffic here, unlike in Manila where waiting time is longer and traffic is not moving especially in Edsa," he said.

If this policy is indeed based on a setting like Manila, Lao said this should only be implemented in Manila too and not in smaller cities.

Lao said he received several complaints about the increase, saying they were shocked about the sudden rise in taxi rates without wide public dissemination.

"Of course there are no complaints from drivers because they need more earnings especially with the rise in fuel prices, but how about the passengers who are also suffering from the increase of basic commodities? We should also consider them," he added.

Meanwhile, transport groups in Northern Mindanao are planning to mount a series of protests as fuel prices continue to increase, threatening the livelihood of public transport drivers and operators.

The Solidarity of Transport Alliance in Northern Mindanao-Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Starex-Piston) said since May 22, fuel companies have increased prices by up to P1.60 per liter for gasoline, P1.15/liter for diesel, and P1.00/liter for kerosene.

Ringo Lago, Starex-Piston spokesperson, said another round of increase was set to be implemented Tuesday, May 29, with fuel companies announcing they will implement a "Big Time Oil Price Hike" of P0.55 to P0.65 for gasoline, P0.30 to P0.40 for diesel, and P0.40 to P0.50 for kerosene.

For the past two weeks, Lago said fuel prices have increased by up to P2 per liter.

"Dugay na kaming nanawagan nga i-basura ang Oil Deregulation Law kay mao man kini ang ugat-hinungdan sa walay puas nga pagsirit sa presyo sa produktong petrolyo tungod ilabina kay kontrolado man sa cartel- Shell Petron ug Caltex ang negosyo sa lana," Lago said.

(We've been calling to trash the Oil Deregulation Law because this is the root cause of the skyrocketing fuel prices, especially that the prices is controlled by a cartel- Shell Petron, and Caltex.)

"Sa hinanali, kinahanglan irepaso hangtud ma-scrap na ang TRAIN LAW diin sukad na Enero sa pagpatuman sa excise Tax, mikabat na sa P8 ang pagtaas sa gasolina ug P11 sa diesel (The government must scrap Train Law immediately wherein since January, the increase of the gasoline price has reached P8 and P11 in diesel)," he added.


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