Public understanding sought over fare hikes

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Malacañang yesterday appealed to the public for understanding over the bus and jeepney fare hikes set to take effect next month even as the Palace expressed confidence the inflation triggered by soaring crude oil prices in the world market will ease in the coming months.

Earlier, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) had approved a P2 fare increase for public utility jeepneys starting 3 November, bringing the minimum fare to P10.

The transport agency also approved an across-the-board provisional fare hike for provincial and city buses, raising the minimum fare of Metro Manila buses to P11 from P10 and that of provincial buses to P13 from P12.

In a radio interview, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said the government had no choice but to allow the fare hikes due to the soaring oil prices in the world market.

“We have to accept the fact that we are on hard times, so we should endure,” Panelo said.
“We don’t have control over the rising prices of oil and everyone is affected globally.”

“But hopefully, that will taper down because as history shows, prices of crude oil products decrease over time,” he added.

Calls have grown louder for the approval of a wage increase for Metro Manila workers following fare hikes on buses and jeepneys on top of rising prices of goods.

The fare hikes will be implemented 15 days after publication, likely during the first week of November and will cover all bus services, including those of ordinary, air-conditioned and deluxe units.

According to the LTFRB, it approved the new fare hikes based on the recommendation of various government agencies, including the National Economic and Development Authority.

In a bid to ease the burden on consumers, the government has launched various mitigating measures including the easing of restriction on rice importation and importation of cheaper diesel.

The Palace also said Duterte will suspend the implementation of the second tranche of excise tax hike on fuel next year to arrest the rising oil prices and inflation.

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