By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara on Thursday called on the government to swiftly publish the new law institutionalizing the student fare discount now that students are anticipating its full implementation.
Angara, author of Republic Act No. 11314 or the Student Fare Discount Act, expressed hope for the immediate publication of the law in a newspaper or in the Official Gazette so that the four transportation bodies can each issue the implementing rules for the 20 percent land-sea-air fare discount to students.
“Without these two, Republic Act 11314 can’t be implemented,” Angara said.
“Students would have to wait for the Implementing Rules and Regulations or IRR but that can’t be promulgated if the law has not been published yet,” he added.
More importantly, Angara said it is “the duty of the Office of the President to have RA 11314 officially published because that is the start of the official timer that will launch the implementation phase.”
“The ball is now on the court of the executive branch. They must step on the gas,” the lawmaker further said.
Under Section 12 of the new law, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will issue the IRR for public utility vehicles such as jeepneys, buses, taxis and the transport network vehicle services such as Grab.
On the other hand, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) will issue the IRR for airlines while the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) will set the one for passenger ships and all other water vessels.
For the rail sector, Angara said the Department of Transportation (DOTr), will have the responsibility of drafting the IRR, having jurisdiction over LRT, MRT and PNR.
Angara urged the designated agencies to “make sure that the students will not have to wait long.”
The senator said that while the President signed RA 11314 on April 17, 2019, it will only take effect 15 days after its publication in a national newspaper or in the Official Gazette.
After this, the concerned agencies are given 90 days to promulgate the IRR.
“But the 90 days is just the maximum. It can be issued earlier which, in this case, it should, considering the public interest the law has generated and the public good it will create,” he said.
“At isa pa, matagal na itong alam ng mga taga-DOTr, so dapat ang preparatory work noon pa sinimulan (Another thing is, the DOTr seems to be aware of this, so the preparatory work should have been done before),” Angara said.