LTFRB: No transport fare hike in CV

DESPITE the successive oil price hikes in the country, there will be no increase in public transport fares in Central Visayas.This was what Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. reiterated Monday as oil companies prepared to impose another price hike on Tuesday, March 8, 2022.Montealto said a transport group organization had filed a petition before the LTRRB central office to implement an increase of P6 in the minimum fare of jeepneys amid the successive increases in oil prices in the country.However, even if it was approved, he said this does not necessarily mean that the fare hike would be implemented nationwide, emphasizing that the National Capital Region (NCR) did not increase transport fares when the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic came.Montealto said other regions, including Central Visayas, on other hand, had already standardized their fares and based these on fares in the NCR at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.He told SunStar Cebu that there were no petitions to increase fares in the region so far.Gregory Perez, chairman of the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) Cebu chapter, said they will not seek a fare increase since it will also burden the riding public.While they understand that the government can not control the oil price hikes, Perez said an increase in fares is not a solution either as the riding public is already struggling with the minimum fare of P9 for the traditional jeepneys and P11 for the modern jeepneys.Perez said the government should instead fast-track the release of fuel subsidies.The transport group chairman also urged the government to give the subsidies directly to the drivers and not through the operators since they are the ones most affected.Montealto, however, explained that they have the list of names only of the operators along with their units and not of the drivers.Driver’s woesDodong Celocia, 48, a modern jeepney driver plying Metro Cebu, said he currently has to pay about P2,300 for the rent of the jeepney while he has to spend about P2,500 to P2,700 for fuel per day, while he and his conductor can collect only about P5,000 to P6,000 in fares daily from plying the streets.The jeepney driver said he is also not in favor of increasing the fares for the sake of the commuting public and instead hoped that the government would be able to control the oil price hikes.10th oil price hikeLawyer Russ Mark Gamallo, Visayas field director of the Department of Energy, said the increase in oil prices this Tuesday is the 10th time since January this year.Gamallo said oil companies are expected to increase prices by around P3.60 per liter for gasoline while P5.85 and P4.10 for diesel and kerosene, respectively.He said the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is the major reason for the increase in oil prices.Russia, a major oil and natural gas producer, invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.With this new development, the field director said about P13.25 was noted to be the total increase in gasoline price since January this year while P17.50 and P14.50 for diesel and kerosene.Gamallo said such increases are expected in the coming days or months but stressed that they still have enough supply or reserve oil products.He, however, emphasized that they are encouraging oil firms to give P1 to P4 discounts.