MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Grace Poe said the government must look into the plight of commuters at risk of contracting the coronavirus as they scramble for rides daily amid the scarcity of public transport, jacking up their transportation expenses.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported a slight deceleration in inflation in March but reported a hefty increase in the transportation index which accounts for 25.5 percent of total inflation.
“The lack of PUVs is the reason why people cram themselves into buses and jeeps that are available because they do not know when the next ride will come,” said Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services.
According to PSA data, inflation for transportation jumped to 13.8 percent in March from 10.4 percent in February due largely to the 47.5 percent acceleration in tricycle fares.
“When bigger vehicles such as buses and jeeps aren’t available, commuters are forced to take short-route rides, hopping from one area to another, kaya mas nagmamahal,” Poe said.
The Department of Transportation is one of the agencies with the biggest budget and it can learn a thing or two from local government units with very limited resources, specifically on how it can focus on the needs of commuters while providing employment in the community.
“The agony and peril that our commuters go through just to earn a living and make both ends meet amid the pandemic deserve heightened attention from government,” Poe said.