By Philippine News Agency
To mitigate the impact of a higher excise tax for oil products under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law on drivers and operators, the Philippine National Taxi Operators Association (PNTOA) is seeking an increase in the following: P50 for the flag-down rate, P13.50 for every kilometer of distance traveled, and P2.50 for waiting time.
The number of taxis now operating in Metro Manila has significantly dropped because of high operating costs and will be further affected by the impact of the TRAIN law unless a fare increase is granted by the LTFRB, PNTOA president Bong Suntay said.
The LTFRB has last granted an increase of taxi fares in October with rates set at P40 for the flag-down rate, P13.50 for every kilometer of distance traveled, and P2 per minute of waiting time.
Under the TRAIN law, an initial excise tax of P2.50 per liter shall be imposed on diesel this year which will eventually increase to P6 by 2020.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has advised oil companies not to impose the new excise taxes to old stocks of petroleum products as these are levied on importation and not at the point of sale to consumers.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said Wednesday that taxi operators should justify why a P50 taxi fare hike is necessary.
LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada said a petition should be filed in order for the Board to hear their views, as well as the side of the commuters that will be affected by the fare increase.
“If there is a petition for fare increase by taxi operators or any transport group, they need to justify why the Board should grant a fare increase and what services will be delivered. Likewise we need to hear the side of the commuters’ group before the Board issues an order,” Lizada said in a text message to reporters.
“If there is any request for a fare hike, it needs to go through a process. A petition must be filed by a petitioner,” she added.
Hike in jeepney fares sought
The perceived effects of the TRAIN law on excise tax for oil products has not escaped jeepney operators and drivers too after a transport group said it is eyeing a P12 minimum fare this year.
Obet Martin, president of transport group Pasang Masda, said in an interview Wednesday that they will be filing a request for an additional P4 on top of the current P8 minimum fare for public utility jeepneys.
“Kailangang maintindihan tayo ng mga mananakay dahil kaakibat ito ng pagtaas ng [presyo ng] petroleum at gas (The riding public must understand that the fare hike is associated with the increase on prices of petroleum and gas),” Martin said.
“Sa P2.50, assuming na ang driver ay consuming 30 liters a day, more or less P80 a day ang mababawas. Dalawang kilong bigas na ‘yun, (With the P2.50 increase, assuming that the driver is consuming at least 30 liters a day, more or less P80 will be removed from his income. That’s already equivalent to the price of two kilos of rice),” the transport group head added.
Martin said the group will file next week an addendum to their existing petition of a P2 hike filed by their group and four other groups last September, seeking to bring the minimum jeepney fare from the current P8 to P12.
Meanwhile, Lawyer Aileen Lizada, LTFRB member and spokesperson, reminded both operators and drivers that if they expect a fare increase to be granted, there should also be a “levelling up” of their services. (Additional reporting by Alexandria Dennise San Juan)