Senate to institutionalize transport discount for students

Marvin Sy - The Philippine Star
Senate to institutionalize transport discount for students
The Senate is set to pass a bill that would institutionalize the grant to students of a 20 percent discount on fares for all modes of transport.
Edd Gumban / File

MANILA, Philippines — Here’s good news for students.

The Senate is set to pass a bill that would institutionalize the grant to students of a 20 percent discount on fares for all modes of transport.

Senate Bill 1597, which was authored and sponsored by Sen. Sonny Angara, is expected to be approved on third and final reading next week.

The bill would expand the coverage of student fare discounts to cover not only land and rail, but also water and air transport on a year-round basis.

Last Tuesday, the bill was approved on second reading with the unanimous support of all senators, who were made co-authors of the measure.

“We thank our colleagues for their overwhelming support. We hope the counterpart bill will also soon be passed by the House of Representatives,” Angara said.

“Even with the free tuition, we need to help families with daily school expenses. What they will save in fares could be used to cover for other expenses,” he added.

Under the bill, all elementary, high school, college and tech-voc students will be entitled to a 20 percent discount on regular domestic travel fares.

These include public utility jeeps, buses, UV Express vans, taxis and transport network vehicle services, Metro Rail Transit, Light Rail Transit, passenger ships, ferries and airplanes, upon presentation of their duly issued school identification cards or current validated enrollment forms. 

Angara noted that the discounts would be provided throughout the year even on weekends, summer breaks and holidays.

Filipino students who will travel abroad for education, training and competition will also be exempted from paying the travel tax upon showing proof or documentation of the intended purpose.

Availment of double discounts or combination of the student fare discount with other discount programs will not be allowed.

Fare discounts are currently provided to students based on a circular issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTRFB).

As such, Angara said these could always be subject to change by the leadership of the agency, which is why he wants this to be institutionalized.

A penalty ranging from P5,000 to P200,000 would be imposed on any land, water, air and rail transportation firm that refuses to grant the student discount. 

The existing laws that grant fare discount to senior citizens and persons with disabilities were authored by Angara’s late father, former Senate President Edgardo Angara. 

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