Higher budget for transport sector sought | Inquirer Business
Fare hikes ‘not the solution’

Higher budget for transport sector sought

/ 05:14 AM April 01, 2022

Increasing the government budget, not necessarily hiking fares, is the way to uplift the public transportation sector amid the double whammy from prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and fuel price surge, a transport group representative said.

Jaime Aguilar of Move As One Coalition, during the People’s Budget Coalition (PBC)’s virtual event on Thursday, explained that fare hikes would ultimately burden the commuters.

“[Ayaw] nga po natin ng taas-pamasahe kasi nga ang tatamaan din dito ay tayong mga manggagawa. Kaya hindi po ito ang solusyong nakikita namin kundi itong budget na dapat ay makatao,” he said. (We reject the idea of fare hike as this will adversely impact the workforce. What is needed is for the government to set a budget that truly considers the public’s needs.)


PBC co-convenor Zy-za Nadine Suzara noted that only P13 billion had been earmarked for public transport in the 2022 budget, far below their group’s proposal of P150 billion.


Aguilar, who also represents the National Confederation of Transport Workers Union, said higher budget would have boosted funding for service contracting—cited as a much-needed relief measure amid the fuel price hike.

The government has provided a P7-billion budget for the service contracting program, benefiting bus and jeepney operators.

Under this program, the public utility vehicle operators are contracted by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and Department of Transportation to transport passengers to predetermined locations and with specified schedules.

In addition, Aguilar raised the need for the government to hike the funding for the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program.

Doing so can help transport cooperatives comply with the program, veering away from the risks of displacement, he said.

He also pushed for a more inclusive public transportation system—one that caters to cyclists and pedestrians as well—noting that infrastructure projects have been mainly focused on road widening that only benefits car owners.


Meanwhile, Aguilar called on the next administration to have a better and “people-centered” response to the needs of public transportation.

—Tyrone Jasper C. Piad
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TAGS: public transportation, transport sector

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