BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved a resolution requesting the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to immediately suspend the taxi fare increase which it has authorized to be implemented in March this year in the city and to subject the petition for taxi fare hike to the required public hearings.
The resolution authored by Councilor Elaine D. Sembrano stated the current excessive taxi fare hike approved by the LTFRB central office has caught the riding public in the city by surprise which triggered numerous complaints from both residents and tourists alike.
The resolution added the taxi fare increase of P13.50 per kilometer and additional P2 per minute of travel time has been deemed exorbitant, excessive, and beyond the reach of commuters from the different parts of the city, especially the low-income sector, thus, subjecting them to further financial burden.
From its implementation in March this year, the resolution claimed it has been observed that there had been numerous complaints raised by the riding public relative to the prevailing taxi fare considering that their previous fare based on the old rate has been actually doubled with the implementation of the new rate, especially when the distance travelled is much longer.
According to the resolution, the local government is mandated by the Local government Code to foster at all times the general welfare of its constituents considering that the taxi fare increase was unilaterally decided by the LTFRB upon without due notice to the city and affected stakeholders, thus, preventing them from duly heard and their public welfare duly heard.
The resolution explained by its recent pronouncements on the issue of transport fare increases, the LTFRB manifested its desire to safeguard commuters from unnecessarily excessive transport cost, as evidenced by its pro-people decisions over the proliferation of Transport Vehicle Network issues.
The resolution underscored the importance of the LTFRB conducting the required public hearings for the taxi fare hike in the city so as to be able to determine the appropriate fare increase warranted under the present socio-economic circumstances and in consideration of what is the most affordable rate that can be absorbed by the taxi riding constituents of the city.
The resolution also extended the invitation to LTFRB officials, especially those from the central office, to appear in one of the regular sessions of the local legislative body to explain the basis in approving the prevailing taxi fare rate in the city which is now the subject of numerous complaints not only from residents but also visitors frequenting the city during weekends and holidays.
Taxi units having plate numbers ending in 5, 9 and 0 will still be subject to calibration by May while those units having license plate numbers ending in 1, 2 and 3 were calibrated last month and those units having license plate numbers ending in 4,6, 7, and 8 are still undergoing the required calibration.
The approved resolution will be immediately forwarded to the LTFRB central office for information, guidance and further needed action after Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan shall have signed the local legislation.
By Dexter A. See