DOTr chief not keen on jeepney fare hike

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 12) — If Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade could have his way, there won't be a minimum jeepney fare hike for now.

Transport groups have been seeking an increase in the minimum jeepney fare to P12 from P9 due to rising fuel costs.

"Ayaw ko ho ng increase ng mga plete (ng jeep) pagkat ang tatamaan ho diyan ay 'yung nakakarami," Tugade said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

[Translation: I don't want an increase in jeepney fares because many people will be affected.]

Tugade added stakeholders should continuously look for other ways to help struggling jeepney drivers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also clarified he's only protecting the majority and not fighting against jeepney drivers and operators.

"Huwag ho tayong tumutok lang sa tinatawag na increasing of (jeepney) fares," Tugade said.

[Translation: Let's not only focus on increasing jeepney fares.]

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board said it will hold hearings in case it receives a fare hike petition.

Transport group Pasang Masda earlier said drivers are also open to other forms of aid such as fuel subsidies or discounts if there's no fare hike.

Aside from grappling with higher fuel costs, drivers also have reduced incomes due to less passenger demand.

"Ang aming mga drivers po ay halos dumapa na sa pagha-hanapbuhay. Sa sunod-sunod pong pagtaas ng produktong petrolyo, marahil ito po'y isang bagay na dapat maunawaan din po ng ating mga mahal na mananakay," Pasang Masda vice president Jojo Martin said.

[Translation: Our drivers are already overburdened. With the consecutive increases in prices of petroleum products, perhaps this is one thing our beloved passengers should understand as well.]

The Department of Energy earlier said the government has been providing cash assistance to the affected sector, especially amid the pandemic.

According to Martin, however, "almost 80%" of jeepney drivers have yet to receive any aid from authorities.