A TRANSPORT group leader in Northern Mindanao said Monday, August 20, that the proposed P10 minimum fare in public utility jeepneys (PUJ) will only hurt the riding public much more if the government refuse to raise the wages of private workers.
Ringo Lago, secretary general of the Solidarity of Transport Alliance in Northern Mindanao (Starex-Piston), said once the new fare increase is approved, commuters would remain to be the disadvantaged sector because their salaries could not cope with the price increases of various commodities, including the fare hike.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB)-Northern Mindanao is endorsing to its central office the petition of a transport group to raise PUJ's minimum fare to P10 and another P1.50 for every succeeding kilometer after a stakeholder's consultation last week.
Lago said drivers were forced to seek for a fare increase because of the effects of government policies like the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law.
"Makatarunganon man ang pagpangayo sa mga drivers sa dugang plitehan pero napugos na sila gumikan sa epekto sa Train law. Advantage sa mga drivers kay mosaka ilang kinitaan pero looy ang mga sumasakay labi na kay walay increase sa ilang suhulan," Lago said.
However, Lago said drivers could not also expect that their income will increase because commuters may likely resort to walking or loan own motorcycle or other vehicle.
"Posible sad nga mokunhod ang mga sumasakay kay magbaklay na lang or moutang ba kaha sa motor kay maila pa human maimpas ang kontrata," he added.
Lago said the government should now raise the salaries of private workers so they can get by with the price increases of commodities and other services.
The group worries that these fare increases will be the onset of a more painful plight for both PUJ drivers and riding public once jeepneys are phased out in the guise of government's transport modernization program.
"Mas labaw pa ang bation sa mga drivers ug sumasakay kung panahon nga ipatuman na ang transport modernization program sa gobyerno," Lago said.