By Philippine News Agency
The jeepney transport sector in Baguio and Benguet is asking the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for a PHP5.50 increase in the minimum fare.
Reynardo Bacoco, president of the Lourdes-Dominican Jeepney Association on Thursday said the joint petition is from the individual associations in Baguio and Benguet, together with the Alliance of jeepney operators and drivers association in Baguio and Benguet (AJODABBI).
Bacoco said their petition filed on April 14 is to increase the minimum fare from the present PHP8.50 for the first four kilometers to PHP14 minimum and PHP2 for every succeeding kilometer. This amount is based on the computation of transport operators, considering the continuing increases in fuel, spare parts, and other supplies.
“Yun ang lumalabas na talagang suited para mapunuan ang sweldo ng drivers at mga pangangailangan ng operators sa pag mintena ng sasakyan (That is the amount needed to cover the pay for drivers and the operators’ vehicle maintenance requirements),” he said.
Bacoco said when they filed the fare hike petition, a liter of diesel fuel was PHP45.60, which is now sold at PHP48.20. “Dahil sa sunud-sunod na pagtaas, ang laki na ng pinagbago (Due to the continuous price increase, there is already a big difference),” he explained.
Last May 15, he added, a public hearing was conducted at the city hall, which was attended by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
Bacoco said the petitioners were given 10 days from the hearing to submit additional documentary evidence to strengthen their claim for an increase.
He added that the opposition, a representative from the commuters group, was also heard during the public hearing.
“We will get a copy of the other party’s document and we will wait if the LTFRB under the DOTr would conduct another hearing or whether we will just submit a position paper,” he said.
The jeepney sector, he added, is praying that the LTFRB would approve the transport sector’s request.
“Alam naming pag-aaralan ng LTFRB ang decision at irerespeto namin ano man ang maging desisyon nila as long as may increase (We know that the LTFRB will study their decision and we will respect whatever it is, as long as there is an increase),” he said.
He added that with Baguio and Benguet’s terrain, the wear-and-tear of vehicles and fuel use is costlier, the reason they are asking for a special rate in these upland areas.
The jeepney sector’s petition came in the light of the issues about the taxi fare hike, which was implemented in the city without conducting a public hearing, causing some negative comments and reactions from various sectors, including the city government.