Issue of June 10, 2018
     
NEWS
Abra
Benguet
Mt. Province
 
OPINION
 

2018
Panagbenga Flower Festival
 
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LTFRB–CO to decide on P14 jeep fare hike petition
by Rimaliza A. Opiña

At a time when constituents of Baguio and suburbs have appealed for localized conduct of hearings for the proposal to increase jeepney fare to P14, the regional office of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board have decided to refer the same to its central office.

The absence of two of the three-member hearing committee prompted the LTFRB-Cordillera to transmit documents related to the petition to its central office.

The LTFRB-Cordillera has already conducted one hearing regarding the proposal.

Department of Transportation-Cordillera Director Jose Eduardo Natividad, chair of the regional hearing committee, has earlier ordered the petitioners and the oppositors to submit their position papers, which should contain, among others, the formula used in computing the increase plus the P2 increment for every succeeding kilometer, the oppositors’ counter proposal, consumer price index with corresponding explanation by the National Economic Development Authority, and duly certified comparative prices of fuel and vehicle spare parts.

Both groups were given until May 25 to submit their position papers.

The petitioners, represented by lawyer James Valeros have met the deadline and have submitted all requirements of the LTFRB-CAR.

The oppositors, on the other hand, have filed a motion for extension pending feedback from the Office of the Solicitor General, their supposed legal counsel in the case. Likewise, they submitted their comment on the formula submitted by the petitioners, but failed to present their counter proposal.

Last June 5, LTFRB Hearing Officer Jess Balagot informed the petitioners and the oppositors that its central office will handle the case for Natividad is presently under preventive suspension, while Acting Chief Transportation Officer Robert Pocais is on long-term leave.

Balagot assured both groups that all records pertaining to the case, including their respective motions will be forwarded to the Board en banc. He told representatives of both groups that the final decision is still lodged with its central office.

In their position paper, the petitioners maintained that their request for a P14 jeepney fare increase is justified. They cited the skyrocketing pri-ces of crude oil, spare parts, and the devaluation of the peso as reasons in asking for an increase.

“While the jeepney sector is committed to serve the public, its operations can only last as long as it can put gasoline in its tank as long as the driver can be justly compensated to bring home a marginal earning for the sustenance of his family,” a portion of the position paper of the petitioners states.

Meanwhile, officials of the LTFRB central office committed to attend the June 11 session of the city council.

The council earlier invited the LTFRB to explain how the present taxi fare rates have been computed. The council members say the present rates have failed to consider that the minimum wages in the Baguio-La Trinidad-Sable-Itogon-Tuba-Tublay areas are not commensurate with the new taxi fare rate.

The council also passed a resolution asking the LTFRB to suspend the implementation of the new taxi fare rates, pending the conduct of a public hearing in Baguio.


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