By Tracy Cabrera
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has warned that the fare increase for public utility vehicles may even cause greater hardship for the public because it could impact on the spiraling inflation rate or a further rise in prices of basic goods and services.
In recent weeks, inflation rate has skyrocketed to 6.7 percent with a staggering 6.2 percent mark for the 3rd quarter of the current year.
But despite NEDA’s warning, effectivity of the approved fare hike on buses and public utility jeepneys has already been set on the first week of November.
“Anything that increases cost of service would be. We’ll have to find out what quantitative is that will be, we’ll see by how much,” said NEDA director Ernesto Pernia.
According to Pernia, their original proposal was only a 50-centavo increase in minimum fare to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon in her letter to the LTFRB explained that the fare hike’s “inflationary impact will, however, result in higher inflation in 2019.”
The NEDA forecasts an estimated an increase of “0.221-percentage point to the country’s annual inflation next year.”
But LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra believes otherwise and argued that the fare hike will only cause a slight impact on the country’s inflation.
“We have been calculating enough na kahit na dito sa dagdag piso na binigay natin hindi masyadong makaka-apekto duon sa inflation rate,” he said.
Amid the issue, Malacañang has called on the riding public to do some belt-tightening measures because the government’s actions are limited by the uncontrollable movement of oil prices in the world market.
“Siguro we have to accept the fact na talagang masama ang panahon, so magtiis muna tayo,” presidential spokesperson Atty.Salvador Panelo pointed out.