Lawmaker says Aquino should crack whip on oil companies

A MILITANT lawmaker on Tuesday said  the Aquino government’s approval of a P1 fare hike for public utility jeepneys is a “short-term solution to assuage our country’s drivers and operators suffering from rampant oil price hikes and ignores the bigger problem of a deregulated oil industry.”

BAYAN MUNA Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said “the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) assurance that jeepney operators and ordinary drivers will benefit from the fare hike is surely a fleeting one. Whatever relief the drivers and operators the government says the has already been erased by the 3 rounds of oil price hikes (January 11, 19 and 25) that added at least P2.25 per liter of diesel and P2 per liter of gasoline. Diesel now ranges P39.20-P41.35 per liter while gasoline is at P47.55-P48.89 per liter. How can a peso hike in fare give relief to our drivers?”

Based on the LTFRB resolution, jeepneys all over the country can now charge P8 for the first four kilometers from the previous rate of P7. The charge for every succeeding kilometer is still at P1.40.

“The Aquino government should crack its whip on the oil companies that make the drivers, operators and the riding public suffer with every increase in pump prices. Keeping oil price hikes in check will help ensure transport costs do not rise. Also, this P1 fare hike will merely compensate for the burden of jeepney drivers that pass the SLEX and NLEX that have already hiked toll fees. All these hikes, for the information of the government, do not benefit drivers and operators. They benefit the oil companies,” Casiño said.

According to the LTFRB, there are about 229,000 jeepneys all over the country, 49,612 of which are plying the streets of Metro Manila.

“This fare hike definitely does not address the bigger problem of oil price hikes in the country. The government should focus on this more than ever,” Casiño said.

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