Published 19 August 2019, The Daily Tribune

A legislation which is sure to make our students jubilant is Republic Act No. 11314 or the Student Fare Discount Act. A student, under this law, is entitled to a twenty percent discount on domestic regular fares upon personal presentation of his duly issued school identification cards or current validated enrollment form, supported by the prescribed government-issued identification document. The discount applies as long as the student is enrolled, including weekdays and holidays. The student also has the option to choose between the promotional fare and the regular fare less the discount under this law.

“Student” refers to any Filipino citizen currently enrolled in a duly authorized elementary, secondary, technical-vocational, or higher education institution. However, it does not include those enrolled in post graduate degree courses and informal short-term courses such as dancing, swimming, music, and driving lessons, and seminar-type courses.

This discount covers all public transport utilities except school service, shuttle service, tourist service, and any similar service covered by contract or charter agreement and with valid franchise or permit from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board. “Public transportation utilities” refer to all Philippine common carriers engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passengers or goods by land, sea/water, or air, for compensation, offering their services to the public. It should be especially noted that all means of transportation, including water or air, is covered by this discount. However, in cases of air public transportation utilities, the discount can only be applied to the base fare.

There is however a prohibition on availing of double discounts, such that the student cannot claim the discount under this law if he has already claimed a higher discount granted by the public transportation utility, or under other existing laws, or in combination with other discount programs or incentives.

To balance out the effects of student discount, the law gives the public transportation utility operator the right to claim as a tax deduction the student fare discount based on the cost of the services rendered.

This law is not without teeth or enforcement. With rights and obligation both from the side of the student and the operators, there are remedies for violations which either or both of them can enforce against the offender.

A student who is refused the fare discount can file a complaint with:

(a) The LTFRB for land public transportation utilities, except tricycles;

(b) The Maritime Industry Authority for sea/water public transportation utilities;

(c) The Civil Aeronautics Board for air public transportation utilities;

(d) The Legal Service of the Department of Transportation for rail public transportation facilities, including the Manila Light Rail Transit System, the Manila Metro Rail Transit System and the Philippine National Railway System; and

(e) The Office of the Local Chief Executive of the local government unit concerned for tricycles.

Likewise, a student who avails himself of the privileges under this law through the use of falsified identification documents, fraud or any form of misrepresentation shall be denied the discount and may be subject to civil and penal liabilities prescribed by law.

Students occupy a premiere place in our society. As our national hero quipped, “youth is the hope for our future.”  It is indeed commendable for our government to have spearheaded this legislation in favor of our students. May our students fully benefit from it.

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