Cebu News

No new taxi fare increase in Cebu

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman
No new taxi fare increase in Cebu
Despite a series of fuel price increases, taxi operators in Metro Cebu have no plans to file a petition for fare hike just yet.
File photo

CEBU, Philippines — Despite the rising fuel prices, Cebu's taxi operators are not filing a new fare increase petition, opting to wait for the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Central Office to decide on the motion for reconsideration they filed last year.

In the motion for reconsideration, they sought a P30 adjustment to the existing P40 flagdown rate.

“Magpaabot na lang mi sa LTFRB sa ilang ruling sa among motion for reconsideration,” Chiquito Obeso, Metro Cebu Taxi Operators Association (MCTOA) vice president, told The FREEMAN yesterday.

The Philippine National Taxi Operators Association already filed a petition for taxi fare increase, citing the recent fuel price hikes. MCTOA is among its members.

But Orbiso said that when they asked for a P30 increase to the P40 flagdown rate in 2021, LTFRB only granted a P5 adjustment.

“Mao na nga nipasaka mi og motion for reconsideration kay gamay ra kaayo ang singko. Sukad ato wala nay balita ang LTFRB. Karon kay nagsigi na man sad og saka ang presyo sa gasolina, mao na nga na-revive na sad (nga mag-petition),” he said.

Ryan Benjamin Yu, Cebu Integrated Transport Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CITRASCO MPC) general manager, said they support MCTOA's stand.

CITRASCO has 200 units operating in Cebu.

In a statement, LTFRB-7 Director Eduardo Montealto said Central Visayas has 6,400 taxi units, majority of which are operating in Cebu.

He confirmed that in September last year, LTFRB raised the flagdown rate from P40 to P45.

“Pero wala man gi-implement sa mga taxi operators ug drivers kay hasolan na sila mag-calibrate na sad sa ilang taxi meters. Unya ang mga drivers di na man sad maningil sa additional nga singko kay mahimo na hinoong lalis,” he said.

To recall, LTFRB increased the taxi flagdown rate from P30 to P40, or a P10 increase, in October 2017. It also adjusted the succeeding rate from P30 per 300 meters traveled to P13.50 per 1,000 meters (one kilometer) traveled and included an additional P2 per every minute of running time.

“Depende na gyud na sa among Central Office kung pasakahan ba nila ang pletehan sa taxi ug pila pud kung naa man ganiy increase. Kay daghan pa na silay mga data nga tan-awon,” Montealto said.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, House of Representatives Minority Leader and 4Ps party-list Rep. Marcelino “Nonoy” Libanan said that the national government should bump up to P7 billion its direct fuel subsidies, which are meant to cushion the impact of elevated petroleum prices on public transport drivers, fisherfolk, and farmers.

“Our public utility vehicle (PUV) and ride-hailing drivers, along with delivery service riders, deserve highly improved financial support to help them cope with the persistent burden of high fuel prices,” he said.

Libanan said that fuel subsidies to public transport drivers should be enlarged to P5 billion, while the combined aid to fisherfolk and farmers should be increased to P2 billion.

“We should give more cash to vulnerable households that tend to be more efficient in spending money compared to government agencies,” he said.

Senators earlier blamed large government agencies' "underspending” for the country’s slower than expected economic growth of 4.6 percent in the second quarter of the year.

In the 2024 National Expenditure Program, the government plans to spend another P3.5 billion in fuel subsidies.

The amount is broken down into P2.5 billion for public transport drivers (coursed through the Department of Transportation, DOTr) while P1 billion is for fisherfolk and corn farmers (coursed through the Department of Agriculture).

The DOTr earlier said it plans to release by the end of this month the PUV drivers' fuel subsidies, which are being funded under this year’s national budget.

Modern jeepney and UV Express drivers are expected to receive P10,000 each; drivers of other modes of public transport, P6,500 each; delivery riders, P1,200 each; and tricycle drivers, P1,000 each.

Last week, oil companies raised their pump prices by P1.90 per liter for gasoline, P1.50 per liter for diesel, and P2.50 per liter for kerosene.

The Department of Energy said the price increases resulted in a 2023 year-to-date net increase of P13.40 per liter for gasoline, P8.60 per liter for diesel, and P5.14 per liter for kerosene. — (FREEMAN)

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