By NITZ ARANCON
THIRTEEN public transportation groups are now seeking a P2-increase in jeepney fares here and elsewhere in northern Mindanao as a result of increasing fuel prices.
If the organizations convince the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, the minimum jeepney fare in Region 10 would shoot up from P8 to P10.
The groups are all under the National Confederation of Transport Unions.
Joel Gabatan, NCTU vice president for northern Mindanao, said the organization has launched a signature campaign in an effort to pressure the government into looking at the plight of jeepney owners and drivers.
All 13 groups signed, and a petition is being prepared by NCTU to be submitted soon to the LTFRB, said Gabatan.
He said it was time for another jeepney fare increase given the series of increases in the prices of petroleum and its derivatives.
NCTU said his group was worried because fuel prices are seen to further shoot up.
But another public transportation organization, the Solidarity of Transport Alliance in Northern Mindanao-Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Starex-Piston), opined that the call for a P2-fare increase is untimely.
NCTU and Starex have been taking opposing positions on public transportation issues in recent months.
Ringo Lago, Starex-Piston secretary general for northern Mindanao, said the call is untimely given that Cagayan de Oro has just been battered by tropical storm “Vinta,” and the city has been placed under a state of calamity.
Lago said Starex-Piston’s focus now is on how to stop the Duterte administration from implementing the public transportation modernization law that it sees as a measure that would phaseout 15-year old jeepneys and older.
“Ang public transport modernization program man gud ni President Duterte, ma-o ang mas labaw nga problima kay mosamot man nga mosaka ang plite anang panahona kon madayon kana,” Lago said.
But Lago clarified that Starex-Piston is not against NCTU’s call. He said, “Kon ihatag sa LTFRB ang ilang pangayo-on sa NCTU, ma-apil man pud mi ana nga increase.”