Aquino to convene economic team to study toll and fare increases

January 3, 2011 1:37 pm 

MANILA, Jan. 2 — President Benigno S. Aquino III will convene the government’s economic team to study possible measures that could lessen the burden of the looming public transport fare hike and toll fee increase which was implemented on Jan. 1 and its effects on the people.

In an interview over government-run radio station dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Sunday, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Secretary Ramon Carandang said the government has been exhausting all efforts to come up with possible means of easing the effects of the looming transport fare and toll fee hikes on the people.

“One of the major concerns of the government is the looming public transport fare hike and the increase in toll fees, that is why we are studying possible measures within the process of the law on how to lessen its effects on the ordinary consumers,” Carandang said.

Carandang stressed that the economic team, composed of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo and Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, is aware of the said fare and toll increase. He added that they are already studying ways to help lessen its effects on the public.

Higher toll rates took effect last Saturday (Jan. 1) at the 85-kilometer North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), the 94.5-kilometer Subic-Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), and the 8.5-kilometer Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEx).

Meanwhile, bus companies operating between Metro Manila and South Luzon provinces are pushing for 30 to 50 centavos per kilometer hike in fares, citing the 250 percent increase in toll fees as well as the steady climb in oil prices. (PNA) scs/PCOO/rsm

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