Air, sea fare cut for students

March 03, 2019

Many students travel not only by land but also by air and sea, especially those coming from remote islands or regions.

They take the long trips right before the school season opens and after it closes to go back to their respective provinces.

These long trips are more expensive than the regular trips they make from their city boarding houses to school campuses.

Therefore, they must be entitled to the same fare discounts when travelling by air or sea.

And so reelectionist Senator Sonny Angara has expressed hope that the bill seeking to institutionalize and expand the 20-percent student fare discount to include air and sea transport will be passed into law before students return to their home provinces for the school summer vacation.

Angara said the proposed discount would make the summer break more enjoyable and economical for students and their families, especially those who work hard and regard travel as a necessity rather than a luxury.

"Students need not have to wait for promo fares. They should be given a regular discount on air and boat fares as they return to their home provinces for their summer vacation, starting this April," said the senator, who is running under the platform "Alagang Angara."

Angara, who has been pushing for a student fare discount law since he became a member of the House of Representatives, authored and sponsored Senate Bill (SB) 1597 to expand the coverage of the student fare discount to air, water and rail transport all year round, including weekends and holidays.

In the present 17th Congress, Angara chaired the Senate Subcommittee on Education that heard and sponsored the committee report on the student fare discount bill.

The Senate approved the bill on third and final reading as early as October last year, while the House of Representatives passed its own version only last month. Angara was part of the bicameral conference committee and sponsored its report in the Senate.

The enrolled bill would be transmitted to Malacañang for President Duterte's signature once signed by officials of the Senate and the House.

Under the circular issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, students get 20 percent discount on land transport like jeepneys and buses.

But by making the student fare discount permanent and year-round, Angara said, it would lessen the hardship of parents in sending their children to school as it would cut down their transportation expenses.

"A few pesos or centavos saved from the fare discount can be used for other school requirements," he pointed out.

According to the lawmaker, more than 20 million public and private students stand to benefit from the institutionalized student fare discount.

"This is especially more significant to the indigent and underprivileged sector that rely on public transport services," said Angara, a known advocate of educational reforms and one of the authors of Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act which guarantees free tuition and other miscellaneous fees in state universities and colleges.