Minimum jeepney fare back to P7

Published by rudy Date posted on February 18, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – Transportation Assistant Secretary Alberto Suansing is expected to announce today a rollback in the minimum jeepney fare from P7.50 to P7.

De Luna, ACTO president, said transport leaders have agreed to the fare rollback during a meeting with President Arroyo and the Cabinet in Malacañang yesterday.

“All jeepney transport leaders have expressed their support for it (rollback), especially now that the pump price of diesel has gone down to P26 and even P25.”

Suansing, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chairman, said the LTFRB might approve a petition of the National Council for Commuter’s Protection for a P7 minimum fare after assessing the prices of fuel, particularly diesel.

When the provisional fare hike was implemented last Dec. 4, the price of diesel was more than P30 per liter, he added.

Suansing said the price of diesel dropped yesterday to P24 per liter in the local market.

“If the price continues to decline then we can implement a new fare reduction for jeepneys,” he said.

Suansing said representatives of bus companies, who were also present during the meeting, indicated that they have to discuss among themselves whether they could match the move of jeepney groups.

The LTFRB and transport groups agreed to take into consideration in future fare settings operational costs of public utilities like labor, fuel, and spare parts, he added.

De Luna said he and the leaders of other transport groups like the FEJODAP, ACTO and Drivers Association of the Philippines had reached a consensus to ask the LTFRB for the rollback in jeepney fares.

“Previously, we had promised that we are open to a fare rollback once the price of diesel goes to P26,” he said.

“Recently, this has happened with the pump price of diesel now even hitting P25 per liter in some gas stations.”

“As we have promised, we will be asking the LTFRB for a rollback as soon as possible. This rollback showed to our commuters that our priority is the people. We promised a rollback, we’re giving a rollback.”

De Luna said they had proposed to the Cabinet a default system of provisionally setting the minimum jeepney fare.

“With such a default system, we will not waste time in undergoing dialogues for a fare hike or fare reduction,” he said.   

De Luna said transport groups are reasonable people who will not oppose a rollback when warranted.

“When we ask for a fare increase, it means that we need it for a justifiable reason like when there is continued oil price increases,” he said.

“But when there is continuing oil price cuts, then we will also ask for fare rollbacks. The public transport sector is very reasonable.”

The public transport sector would be open to a lower minimum jeepney fare if the pump price of diesel continues to go down, De Luna said.

During the term of Thompson Lantion, the LTFRB had granted a provisional rollback in the minimum jeepney fare from P8 to P7.50 at 25 centavos per kilometer, and a minimum fare of P9 for Metro Manila buses and 25 per kilometer hike for provincial buses.

Deregulation law working

A transport leader believes that the Oil Deregulation Law could be used to goad oil firms to lower fuel prices and improve their services.

Speaking after transport leaders met with President Arroyo and the Cabinet in Malacañang yesterday, Vigor Mendoza of United Transport Koalisyon said the 10-year-old law is “slowly working” for the benefit of transport groups and other fuel consumers.

“There are problems on the retail side but we can see that it (law) is working slowly,” he said.

Mendoza said many refueling stations now offer discounts as much as P4 per liter after the transport groups made a united stand and patronized stations that offer the lowest prices.

“On our side we have to work together to make the law work,” he said.

“It cannot just be supply but also demand side. We were united in facing oil companies and we’re talking about millions of liters of fuel a month.”

Mendoza said about 200,000 jeepneys nationwide consume an estimated 60 million liters of diesel daily.

About the same volume is used by an estimated 40,000 buses everyday, he added.

Also at the meeting were Zeny Maranan of the Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (FEJODAP) and Efren de Luna of the Philippine Confederation of Drivers and Operators-Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations.

Gonzalez: Probe oil cartel

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez ordered yesterday the special task force on oil deregulation to look into alleged cartelization and predatory pricing by major oil firms.

In the order, Gonzalez said he wants to know if Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., Petron Corp., Chevron (formerly Caltex), and Total Corp. were involved in cartel and price manipulation.

“You are directed to immediately convene and monitor and/or investigate possible violations of RA 8479 (Oil Deregulation Law), specifically those covered under sections 11 and 12,” read the order.

Gonzalez issued the order in response to a newspaper advertisement of the Consumer & Oil Price Watch (COPW) urging Gonzalez and Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes to perform their regulatory functions under RA 8479.

Gonzalez tapped Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar, task force co-chairman, to coordinate with their counterparts in the DOE.

Under the law, cartelization means “any agreement, combination or concerted action by refiners, importers and/or dealers, or their representatives, to fix prices, restrict outputs or divide markets.” – Paolo Romero with Rainier Allan Ronda, Perseus Echeminada, Edu Punay, Philippine Star

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