LTFRB hit for excluding parts of Mindanao in fare hikeBy Edwin Fernandez
COTABATO CITY, Philippines — The head of a transport group that serves Central Mindanao and parts of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao lashed out at the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board for excluding the regions from the 50-centavo fare increase order that took effect Wednesday.
“What is so special in the regions that exempted us from increasing fares?” said George Mangansakan, president of the Awang-Cotabato Transport Operators and Drivers Association (Actoda).
Mangansakan said the cost of fuel in Central Mindanao, which counts the two Cotabato provinces, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat and the cities of Tacurong, General Santos, Kidapawan and Cotabato, was actually higher than in other areas.
The situation is the same in the ARMM, which is made up of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi, he said.
“We also eat the same rice, we pay the same higher power rate, we buy food and we buy fuel,” Mangansakan added.
Babylen Mangelen, Central Mindanao regional director of the LTFRB, said transport groups in Central Mindanao and the ARMM were partly to blame for their non-inclusion in the provisional increase order issued by the agency’s central office.
“They did not file petitions for fare increase, therefore, they were excluded,” she said.
But Mangansakan said that in the past, fare hikes increases implemented nationwide although only transport groups in the National Capital Region had petitioned the LTFRB.
“It’s unfair. We have the same problems and issues as other drivers and operators in Manila. When the cost of fuel increases in Metro Manila, fuel prices increase here too,” he said.
Mangansakan said they have drafted a petition for P1 fare increase in light of the LTFRB decision that excluded them from the provisional order.
“Let’s see what they will do with our petition,” he said.