By LITO RULONA
THE Solidarity of Transport Alliance in Northern Mindanao-Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Starex-Piston) over the weekend echoed its call for an increase in the minimum fare for public jeepneys even as it stepped up it campaign for the government to act on its petition.
Starex-Piston wants the minimum jeepney fare in Region 10 to be increased by P1 or from the present P7 to P8 for the first five kilometers.
The group called on the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to act on the petition.
Councilors Tedoulfo Lao Jr. and George Goking said they would ask the regional director of LTFRB to act on the Starex-Piston petition or face councilors so he could present the LTFRB’s position.
Ringo Lago, Starex-Piston’s leader, said public jeepney operators and drivers were becoming impatient because they could hardly make both ends meet.
“Grabe na gyud ilang reklamo nga patas-an ang fare rate sa P8 tungod kay sirit kaayo ang pagsaka sa presyo sa krudo og mga basic commodidties,” Lago said.
The situation, according to Lago, has been aggravated by the Duterte administration’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law.
Despite all these, he said, the LTFRB regional office under Allan Guro has not yet acted on the Starex-Piston petition for a fare increase.
Lago said the petition was filed after a series of consultations and dialogues.
Starex-Piston has asked the help of the city council, particularly its committees on public utilities and trade.
The group said the increasing prices of fuel and basic commodities “has touched the very core” and “our city council members are all aware of the impact of this.”
“Ang uban nag-ingon nga P10 ang increase nga pangayoon but our appeal is balanced,” said Rago, adding that Starex-Piston also considered the plight of commuters.