ILOILO City – The rift between board members of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) won’t affect the imposition of the P2 increase in jeepney fare in this city and Iloilo province, according to Regional Director Richard Osmeña.
The increase took effect on Aug. 30.
“Sa ila na lang na ‘ya. It’s up to them to fix their problem,” said Osmeña, referring to the complaint filed by LTFRB board member Atty. Aileen Lizada against the staff of Chairman Martin Delgra III before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Lizada accused Delgra’s staff of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. She claimed the order approving the fare hike did not have her signature as it was surreptitiously taken out of her office.
In Osmeña’s view, the LTFRB order on the P2 fare hike was valid because majority of the board members approved it.
“Indi man kinahanglan nga kumpleto. A majority would suffice and that’s it. Ara man sa law nga basta majority, approved naman,” said Osmeña.
The members of the LTFRB board are Delgra, Lizada, Engr. Ronaldo Corpus, and Atty. Samuel Jardin. Except for Lizada’s, the signatures of these members appeared in the LTFRB fare hike order.
“Of course we cannot stop the P2 fare hike. Gin-approve na,” said Osmeña.
LTFRB-6 has nothing to do with the row in the agency’s central office, he stressed.
In her complaint, Lizada further averred that the P2 increase was excessive. She claimed it was “in excess of the fare hike as supported by the NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) and the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry).”
NEDA’s recommended fare hike was only P1.50, according to Lizada, while DTI pushed for a “lower or minimal fare adjustment.”
But Osmeña belied this, saying NEDA itself recommended the P2 increase.
The Iloilo City Loop Alliance of Jeepney Owners and Drivers Association (ICLAJODA) warned that if the rift among LTFRB board members would result to the recall of the P2 jeepney fare increase, drivers and operators would stage a strike.
“Delgra and Lizada should not drag us into their conflict. We waited for the approval of our fare hike petition for months. We’ve suffered enough from the rising prices of fuel,” said ICLAJODA president Raymundo Parcon.
ICLAJODA, Iloilo City Alliance of Drivers Association and the Confederation of Iloilo Provincial Jeepney Owners and Drivers and Association actually asked for a P5.50 hike. They cited the effects of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law’s additional excise tax on petroleum products, basic commodities and vehicle spare parts.
“Indi pwede ma-withdraw. Tindugan namon ina,” declared Parcon. “Indi ‘ni lango-lango. Nakagasto na kami.”/PN