MANILA (Mabuhay) – The House Committee on Transportation has approved in principle a substitute bill granting students 20 percent fare discount on all kinds of public transportation utilities during school days.
Rep. Cesar V. Sarmiento (Lone District, Catanduanes), chair of the house body, said the still unnumbered bill seeks to address economic concerns and the alarming rate of school dropouts.
“This will alleviate the burden of the parents and guardians in the financial support given to the students with due consideration to the continued rise in the cost of education in the country, including their incidental expenses, such as transportation costs,” Sarmiento said.
Sarmiento said students aged 30 years old and below need only to present their school-issued identification card or current validated enrolment form supported by any document establishing their identity.
Rep. Alfredo D. Vargas III (5th District, Quezon City), one of the authors of the bill, said the fare discount is envisioned to inspire students to engage in academic, extra-curricular and civic activities during non-school days.
“Due consideration is also given to those students undergoing internships, trainings and other activities covered by their curricula. Through this proposal, we can expect holistic growth of our students, our hope for the future,” Vargas said.
Under the bill, students who are refused the fare discount privilege may file their complaints with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for land public transportation utilities, except tricycles.
Complaints can also be filed with Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), which concern sea, air and water public transportation utilities.
Those riding the Manila Light Rail Transit System and the Manila Metro Rail Transit System can file their complaint with the Department of Transportation and Communications.
Complaints against erring tricycle drivers can be coursed through the Office of the Local Chief Executive of the local government unit (LGU).
The driver for land public transportation utilities who refuses or fails to grant the student fare discount privilege shall suffer the penalty of suspension of his driver’s license for one month for the first offense; two months for the second offense and three months for the third offense plus a fine of P 1,000 for each subsequent offense.
Also, the owner or operator of the land transportation utility shall also be held liable with the conductor for a fine of P 1,000 for every offense or violation.
Further, the owner or operator of the sea/water or air public transportation utility shall be solidarily liable with its employee or agent for a fine of P 5,000 for the first offense; P 10,000 for the second offense, P 20,000 for the third offense and additional increments of P 10,000 on top of the fine for the third offense for each subsequent offense.
The measure also imposes a fine of P 1,000 for the operator of the rail public transportation utility for the first offense; P 5,000 for the second offense; P 10,000 for the third offense and additional increments of P 5,000 for each subsequent offense.
Co-authors of the bill are Reps. Ma. Victoria Sy-Alvarado (1st District, Bulacan), Bellaflor Angara-Castillo (Lone District, Aurora) and Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City). (MNS)