Senator Sonny Angara has called on his colleagues in the Senate to fast-track the approval of his bill that expands and institutionalizes the 20 percent transport fare discount given to students.
Angara, vice chair of the Senate education committee, was referring to his Senate Bill 945, entitled "An Act Institutionalizing the Grant of Student Fare Discount Privileges on Land, Water, Air and Rail Transport Utilities and for Other Purposes."
"We always say that the youth is the future of the country. Let's make this come true by investing adequately on our students," the lawmaker stressed. His renewed call for the immediate passage of the bill came as most students are expected to return to their home provinces, either by land, air or sea travel, starting this month for the two-month-long school vacation, while some of them will enroll in summer classes.
Once enacted into law, Filipino students will enjoy a 20 percent discount on regular fares not only during school days and summer classes, but the same privilege is mandated to be provided on Saturday and Sunday, Christmas break, Lenten break, semestral break, and school summer vacation.
Aside from this, the proposed measure covered the inclusion of MRT, LRT, airplanes, passenger ships, MRT, and LRT on the those who should grant student discounts.
"Let's lessen a bit the hardship of parents in sending their children to school. One way is to help our students by cutting their transportation expenses. A few pesos or centavos saved from the fare discount can be used for other school requirements," Angara pointed out.
The senator, who has been championing reforms in Philippine education since entering public service more than a decade ago, explained that at present, the Memorandum Circular No. 2011-04 issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board limits the grant of 20 percent fare discounts only to land transportation like buses and jeepneys and only during weekdays from June to March and summer classes.
Students enrolled in preschool, elementary, secondary and collegiate institutions, and vocational and technical schools will benefit once this bill gets the signature of the president.
It will be recalled that Angara was designated last month by the the chair of the Senate education committee, Senator Chiz Escudero, to draft the committee report, and to defend SBN 945 in the plenary.