Fare hike public hearing set

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ILOILO City – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will conduct a public hearing on the proposed fare hike on September 16, 2 p.m. at its regional office in Brgy. Tabuc Suba, Jaro district here.

The current minimum fare for public utility jeepneys (PUJs) is P7.50.

The Iloilo City Alliance of Drivers Association (ICADA) filed a petition before LTFRB seeking a 50-centavo increase in the minimum fare, said Regional Director Romulo Bernardes.

ICADA is seeking the increase in anticipation of Department of Energy’s announcement of a “big-time” oil price increase, explained Nick Dalisay, alliance president.

Bernardes said the public hearing is open to all interested sectors, including students, persons with disabilities, parents and senior citizens, among others.

All sides will be heard, he assured the public.

Private company employee Joy Orquista of Zarraga, Iloilo who works in the city said a fare increase would be an added burden.

From her home to her office, Orquista takes three jeepney rides.

Julie Ann David of Pototan, Iloilo shared Orquista’s sentiment.

“Sakit naman ini sa bulsa. Permi gina huthutan ang mga commuters (This will hurt our pockets. We consumers feel like we’re being extorted all the time),” said David.

She couldn’t help but link the proposed fare increase to the pork barrel scam.

“Hala kita bayad tax, sa bulsa man lang sang mga sakon nagakadto (We dutifully pay taxes but these merely end up the pockets of greedy government officials),” David said.

For college student Jim Placio of Tigbauan, Iloilo, the fare increase would hurt his already cash-strapped parents working hard to send him to school.

But he is thankful the LTFRB imposes fare discounts to students.

ICADA’s Dalisay said the price of diesel keeps on rising and could reach P50 per liter.

Last year, his group sought a 50-centavo face increase but this was denied because the price of oil decreased.

In recent months, however, the prices of fuel have been steadily rising again.

Motorists should brace themselves for a fresh round of oil price increases. Gasoline is expected to go up by P1.40 to P1.60 per liter. Diesel is seen to increase by P0.90 to P1.10 per liter.

This as world oil prices soared last week, on fears of a US-led strike on Syria.

The price of liquefied petroleum gas is also going up this week by P2 to P4 per kilo.

Last year, LTFRB granted jeepney drivers a 50-centavo provisional fare increase due to rising oil prices that reached P51.95 per liter.

But it scrapped the 50-centavo increase a few months later after oil prices went down. Jeepney drivers agreed./PN