KABAYAN Party-list Rep. Ron P. Salo has appealed to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to fully implement the 20 percent student fare discount now.
“LTFRB need not wait for the IRR (implementing rules and regulation) of the Student Fare Discount Act because the discount provision is a reiteration of the discount spelled out in LTFRB Memorandum Circular 2017-24 but which many PUVs are still disregarding,” Salo, one of the principal authors of the soon-to-be-law, pointed out.
“For the other provisions of the Student Fare Discount Act the various implementing agencies have up to 90 days to make sure those rules will take effect in time for the opening of most classes in June,” Salo said.
Salo said the legislative measure is very comprehensive as it covers various types of transportation: land, sea, air and rail. It also covers both those enrolled in basic and tertiary education, even during summer breaks.
Salo pointed-out that the phrase “during the entire period while the student is enrolled” in the basic education system means until the student has graduated.
“The Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, and other government agencies should interpret the law in favor of the students because even during term breaks, holidays, and vacations, students do not cease to be students because they take summer classes, participate in summer training activities, get involved in Brigada Eskwela, process their clearances, and attend to enrollment details,” Salo stressed.
The KABAYAN congressman said, “the technically difficult to implement provision is Section 7 on tax deduction because the authorities have to find ways to record and compute the exact amount of student discounts the public transportation utility has granted the students.”
“This tax deduction would be especially difficult for public utility jeepneys because they do not record how many students they serve each and every day,” he added.
“Perhaps the DoTr (Department of Transportation), with the help of information technology providers, can device a technology solution to this issue,” Salo said.
“A prepaid loadable student fare discount card solution might be feasible for PUJs equipped with card-swiping digital devices. I am certain that with the advances in today’s technology, this concern would not be too difficult to address,” he said.
The congressman also said the tax deduction for transport operators “would not be as difficult to compute for the passenger trains, buses, shipping lines, airlines, and taxis because they have electronic booking systems which can be reconfigured for the student fare discount applicability.”