The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is set to start in September hearings on a motion filed by a transport group to revert back to P7.50 the minimum jeepney fare.
Roberto Martin, president of Pasang Masda, said at the Balitaan sa Tinapayan forum Sunday that his group wants the P7.50 minimum jeepney fare returned from the current P7.00.
Martin recalled that in May 2008, the minimum fare even went up to P8.00 for the first 4 kilometers when the price of petroleum products rose to P42.05 per liter but went down to P7.50 only after 7 months when local pump prices also slid down. In December 2008 diesel prices were at P35.98 per liter.
Martin said he finds it hard to comprehend why transport fares could not be increased in the midst of the present oil price hikes.
Martin even accused the government of colluding with the so called "Big 3" oil companies, Petron Corp., Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. and Chevron (formerly Caltex) Philippines, and calls them the "Big 4".
"Iyon binibili nila ng mura ibebenta nila ng mahal,” said Martin.
LTFRB chairman Alberto Suansing explained however that a process needs to be followed before any adjustment in fares could be made.
"15 days upon receipt of the motion, doon lang pwedeng simulan ang hearing,” said Suansing.
Pasang Masda filed their petition Friday.
Pasang Masda and another transport group, Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon, meanwhile said they are currently contemplating the holding of a transport strike.
"Hindi pa sure pero naghahanda na rin kami," said Dante Lagman Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon secretary general.
The petition filed by Pasang Masda is aside from a petition for a P1.00 increase in the minimum fare filed earlier by Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization to LTFRB.
Meanwhile taxi drivers who are members of Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon are set to stage their own protest against oil companies in Ayala Avenue in Makati City Monday morning.
Oil companies last week hiked the prices of gasoline, diesel and kerosene products, citing the increasing oil prices in the world market.
The prices of gasoline went up by P2 per liter and by P1.50 per liter for diesel and kerosene. Cecille Lardizabal, ABS-CBN News