MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Tuesday approved a P0.50 provisional fare increase for public utility jeepneys.
LTFRB chairman Jaime Jacob said the fare hike will be effective Wednesday morning.
He said the increase will be implemented while the LTFRB hears a petition filed by different transport groups seeking for a P2 increase in the minimum jeepney fare.
Jacob said the provisional increase will stay for as long as diesel prices remain high.
He said, however, that jeepneys will be required to roll back the minimum fare once diesel prices go back to P45 per liter.
With the fare increase, labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has reiterated its call for a P90 wage hike in Metro Manila.
TUCP, in a statement, said the fare increase will push prices of basic goods higher, and result in the further erosion of the purchasing power of the peso.
"The new fare increase further justifies that there is an extraordinary situation and a supervening event that merits an across-the-board increase of P90 in daily basic pay among workers in Metro Manila," said TUCP president Democrito Mendoza.
"We call on the wage board to expedite the consultations and public hearings procedures as soon as possible and deliberate on the petition as soon as possible," he added.
In Congress, the House committee on labor is expected to soon approve an across-the-board daily wage hike of P125 for private workers.
Malacañang has asked the wage board to decide on TUCP's P90 wage hike petition, but it thumb down the planned P125 legislated hike.
According to deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, the Palace will only support a wage hike that will pass "considerations for inflation."
"It is not practicable," Valte said. "Mukhang masyado pong mataas 'yong P125."
Valte explained that the P125 legislated wage hike will result in P2 trillion "increased cost" for the economy.
"The basic question is ilang po ba 'yong kumpanya na kakayanin pong sumunod dito sa magiging kung sakaling pagtaas na ito... Kung ang sagot po ng negosyante ay 'hindi namin kaya,' ang susunod nilang tanong, 'Ilan po ba ang kailangan natin bawasang trabaho?'"
"Sa dulo po nito, while gusto natin ng umento sa sahod, ang mangyayari, imbes na makatulong tayo sa nakakarami ay baka marami pang mawalan ng trabaho."
Valte said the Palace is leaving it up to the wage boards to decide on petitions for a wage increase. - Reports from Zen Hernandez and Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News