LTFRB junks commuters' appeal vs jeepney, bus fare hike
MANILA, Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Tuesday, October 30, denied a commuters group's appeal against the implementation of the recently approved fare hikes for jeepneys and buses.
In an order dated Tuesday, October 30, the LTFRB denied the motion for reconsideration filed by concerned citizen Arlis Acao and Rodolfo Javellana of United Filipino Consumers and Commuters.
Following the decision, the fare hike for buses and jeepneys wil take effect in November.
"[T]he instant motion failed to present new issues for the Board to reconsider its earlier findings. It is apparent that the issues raised therein had already been passed upon by the Board in resolving the instant petition for fare increase as the same issues were raised by oppositor Arlis Acao in his opposition filed on 13 June 2018," the decision read.
LTFRB denies the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters’ motion to reconsider the P10 jeepney minimum fare in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Calabarzon, and the provisional bus fare hike. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/P7aM4bdpkQ— Aika Rey (@reyaika) October 30, 2018
Acao and Javellana said in their motion that poorer commuters will bear the brunt of the fare hike, and that the operators already earn "good income."
The approved fare hike set the jeepney minimum fare at P10 in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Southern Luzon' and granted a provisional P1-increase in Metro Manila buses' minimum fare.
The October 30 decision was signed by all the members of the Board, with a supplemental concurring opinion by LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III. LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada wrote a dissenting opinion.
The decision also canceled the supposed hearing originally set for Thursday at 9 am. (READ: Jeepney drivers in more parts of PH seeking fare hike)
'Ample time' to reconsider hike
Lizada, in her dissenting opinion, called on the Board to give the commuters' group "ample time" to be heard in court.
Lizada also noted that the LTFRB should decide based on the guidance of the National Economic and Development Authority when it comes to fare hike petitions.
"This office should be the refuge of those who have less in life. This Board owes them a judicious and thorough procedure where everyone is given an opportunity to be heard and not bar them by mere technicalities," Lizada said.
In response to Lizada, Delgra wrote in his supplemental concurring opinion that the commuters were given the opportunity to discuss the fare hike petition in court.
Delgra said that the Board conducted at least 8 hearings on the jeepney fare hike petition and that Acao, as well as the National Council for Commuters Safety and Protection, were present at the hearings.
"To say that 'we owe our stakeholders more than just a 32 minute and 40 second discussion on a very important matter that affect public interests,' is regrettably to trivialize the entire honorable and serious proceeding the Board has collectively undertaken," Delgra said.
The October 18 order granted a permanent P2-increase in jeepney minimum fares. The Board decided on the PUJ drivers and operators' petition back in September 2017, citing higher fuel prices.– Rappler.com