By Hannah L. Torregoza
Senator Sonny Angara on Sunday, April 2, pressed the Senate to expedite the approval of the bill that seeks to expand and institutionalize the 20 percent transport fare discount granted to students.
Angara, vice chair of the Senate education committee, was referring to his Senate Bill 945, entitled “An Act Institutionalizing the Grant of Student Fare Discount Privileges on Land, Water, Air and Rail Transport Utilities and for Other Purposes.”
Angara was designated last month by Sen. Francis Escudero, chair of the Senate education committee, to draft the committee report, and to defend the measure in plenary.
“We always say that the youth is the future of the country. Let’s make this come true by investing adequately on our students,” Angara stressed.
The senator renewed his call for the immediate passage of the bill as Holy Week approaches and noting how most students are expected to return to their home provinces, either by land, air or sea travel, starting this month for the two-month-long school vacation, while some of them will enroll in summer classes.
If passed into law, Filipino students will enjoy a 20 percent discount on regular fares not only during school days and summer classes, “but the same privilege is mandated to be provided on Saturday and Sunday, Christmas break, Lenten break, semestral break, and school summer vacation.”
Aside from this, the proposed measure included the MRT, LRT, airplanes, passenger ships, MRT, and LRT under the coverage of transportation agencies that would be mandated to grant the expanded student discount.
Angara explained that presently, the Memorandum Circular No. 2011-04 issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) limits the grant of 20 percent fare discounts only to land transportation like buses and jeepneys and only during weekdays from June to March and summer classes.