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Angara seeks wider coverage of students' 20 percent discount to land, air, water, rail transport.

By Mario Casayuran

Students may look forward a 20 percent fare discount when the Senate passes this coming week a bill that seeks to institutionalize and expand the coverage of student fare discount to include land, air, water and rail transport all year round.

The measure, Senate Bill 1597, is principally authored and sponsored by Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara, chairman of the Senate ways and means committee.

The bill was approved on second reading last Tuesday. All the senators were made co-authors of the measure.

"We thank our colleagues for their overwhelming support. We hope the counterpart bill will also soon be passed by the House of Representatives,'' Angara said.

"Even with the free tuition, we need to help families with daily school expenses. Ang matitipid sa pamasahe ay makatutulong para sa iba pang gastusin at pangangailan ng ating mga mag-aaral," he said. (What could be saved from the 20 percent fare discount may be used by families for their other expenses.)

Angara is the vice chairman of the Senate education committee.

Under the bill, all elementary, high school, college and tech-vocational students will be entitled to a 20 percent discount on regular domestic travel fares--including jeepneys, buses, UV Express vans, taxis and transport network vehicle services like Grab, MRT, LRT, passenger ships and ferries, and airplanes--upon presentation of their duly issued school ID or current validated enrollment forms.

Such discount will be effective throughout the year including weekends, summer breaks and holidays.

Moreover, Filipino students who will travel abroad for education, training, and competition will be exempt from payment of travel tax upon proper showing of proof or documentation of intended purpose.

Availment of double discounts or combination of the student fare discount with other discount programs will not be allowed.

At present, the student fare discount is only based on a circular issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTRFB), which can always be subject to change.

''Ang kailangan natin ay batas para masiguro na ang 20-percent discount para sa mga mag-aaral ay mananatili kahit sino pa ang mga nakaupo sa DOTr at LTFRB," he pointed out.(Need a law to institutionalize the fare discount policy which should be respected whoever sits at the LTFRB and Department of Transportation.)

Land, water, air and rail transportation utilities that refuse to grant student discount will be penalized with a fine ranging from P5,000 to P200,000.

Laws that granted fare discount to senior citizens and persons with disabilities were authored by his late father, former Senate President Edgardo J. Angara.

The younger Angara expanded such discount by giving seniors and PWDs 12% VAT exemption.

Aside from fare discount, the young Angara said he is also pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 134 which seeks to grant underprivileged students a five-percent discount on books and school supplies, food establishments, medicines, and on museums, theaters and cultural events.


Senator Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara (Sonny Angara Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)

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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Sep 29, 2018
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