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December 22, 2014

THE MANILA STANDARD TODAY: Jeepney minimum fare cut by peso

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board on Thursday ordered a rollback of P1 in the minimum jeepney fare in Metro Manila effective today, December 12.

This means that starting today, jeepney passengers should pay a minimum fare of P7.50  for the first four kilometers, or down P1 from the usual fare, according to FTRB chairman Winston Ginez said.

Malacañang, meanwhile, lauded LTFRB’s decision to reduce the minimum fare to P7.50.

In a text message, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said that the LTFRB made “a timely decision” since the holiday season is fast approaching.

“That’s a timely decision from the LTFRB and will certainly be welcomed by the riding public,” Valte said.

The LTFRB said the fare adjustment is an offshoot of the successive rollbacks in the prices of diesel.

“Undoubtedly, there has been a continuous rollback of diesel prices since the petition for fare reduction was filed,” Ginez said.

Accodding to the Department of Energy, on November 25, 2014, oil companies implemented a price rollback of P0.90/liter for diesel, while on Dec. 2, or barely two weeks after, the price of diesel gone down by P0.50/liter.

The price movement brought total year-to-date net decrease to P12.13/liter. The price range of diesel is P30.75 – P34.10 with a common price of P32.95 equivalent to 20 percent.

Ginez and board members – Ronaldo Corpus and Antonio Enrile Inton Jr. signed the order “ The fare rollback will take effect today (Friday) after its publication in a newspaper of general circulation,” Inton told the Manila Standard.

Inton also explained that passenger jeepneys from Rizal’s Antipolo City, San Mateo and Rodrigues (Montalban) entering Cubao, Quezon City are covered under the LTFRB directive.

The provisional P7.50 fare will entitle students and senior citizens to a 20 percent discount or the equivalent of P5 under the law.

Following the adjustment on jeepney fare, a partlist group LPG Marketers’ Association (LPG-MA) also urged for the immediate rollback in the prices of basic goods, such as rice, corn, ‘pandisal’, instant noodles, vegetables, fresh eggs, fish and meat, among others, amid the ongoing slump in fuel prices.

“We are hopeful that producers of basic necessities and prime commodities will heed the Department of Trade and Industry’s call for lower prices,” said House Deputy Minority Leader and LPG-MA Rep. Arnel Ty.

“A downward correction in consumer prices is only fair and reasonable, considering that fuel prices have nose-dived,” added Ty, a senior member of the House energy committee.

Ty said that under the law, “basic necessities” include rice, corn, root crops, bread; fresh, dried or canned fish and other marine products such as fresh pork, beef and poultry meat; fresh eggs, potable water in bottles and containers, fresh and processed milk; fresh vegetables and fruits; locally manufactured instant noodles; coffee; sugar; cooking oil; salt; laundry soap and detergents; firewood; charcoal; candles; and drugs are classified as essential by the Department of Health (DOH).

Ty cited as example the drop in the price of diesel – the fuel widely used by producers of electricity and the transportation sector.

Citing Department of Energy (DOE) statistics, Ty said diesel pump prices as of Dec. 4 ranged from P33 to P36 per liter, down 22 percent from P42 to P46 a year ago.

“The immediate positive impact is substantially lower electricity as well as transportation costs should provide manufacturers greater leeway to reduce their selling prices,” Ty said.

“It is only right that ordinary consumers start to directly benefit from the plunge in fuel prices,” he added.

With respect to LPG, Ty said retail prices of the cooking fuel are now around P530 to P57 per 11-kilogram cylinder, down 42 percent from P980.

Ty also sees world crude oil prices continuing to decline in 2015, owing to a big glut in supply along with sluggish demand.

“There is flood oil, which Europe and China are consuming less fuel due to the slowdown in their manufacturing activities,” he said.

World crude oil prices now hovers around $65 per barrel, down some 40 percent since June.

“In fact, there are forecasts that prices will drop as low as $43 to $48 per barrel by the second or third quarter next year,” Ty said.

LPG-MA has been batting for stronger government supervision of all energy and consumer markets, so as to safeguard the public against potentially unfair trade practices and pricing abuses.

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