LRT Fare hike, privatization, contrary to the promises of people power “Cronyism still very much alive today with Aquino’s PPP”

1 Mar

(News Release February 24, 2011)

As Malacañang through the LRTA board tries to maneuver the fare increases on the eve of the commemoration of People Power, RILES Network launched a rally in front of the DOTC and at the foot of the EDSA shrine to remind Pres. Aquino that the abandonment of the peoples’ welfare to satisfy the greed of a few is one of the moving force behind the EDSA uprising that ousted the anti-poor Marcos regime.

The LRTA board of directors composed of cabinet secretaries from the Department of Transportation and Communication, Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Public Works and Highways, Metro Manila Development Authority, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and the LRTA administrator will meet today to decide on the proposed fare increase despite widespread public opposition. Pres. Aquino’s speeches during SONA and his 100-days report reveal that the fare increases in the light rail system as a prelude to its eventual privatization through the public-private partnership program, a recycled economic policy of his predecessor, Gloria Arroyo.

Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (RILES) spokesperson Sammy Malunes said that both the senate and the lower house had expressed their opposition to the unjust, baseless, anti-poor and pro-crony fare increases. “Malacañang is mocking the spirit of the people power by imposing fare increases at the expense of the poor. We can clearly see that the driving force of the Aquino administration’s economic policies is not following daang matuwid but a never ending quest to pay back his political backers, his cronies.”

The House Committee on Government Enterprises conducted a hearing yesterday and grilled the representatives of the LRTA and MRT3 administration to ferret out the fare increase proposal. RILES Network pointed out during the hearing that the proposal is only meant to satisfy the demands of the private investors of the MRT and the LRT since the present fares are enough to pay for the operations, management and maintenance.

“The P8 billion revenue from additional fares are meant to pay for the onerous contract with private lenders and investors. In essence, the people and the government are subsidizing the pockets of greedy businessmen not the passengers of LRT and MRT. On the other hand the government that allows them to do this is emptying the people’s left and right pockets,” said Malunes.

Temporary Restraining Order and the parliament of the streets
Both houses of congress are set to continue its investigations of the irregularities of the proposed dare increases. If the fare increase pushes through despite the widespread opposition, the RILES Network, together with national organizations and personalities shall immediately file a temporary restraining order at the supreme court and will intensify street protests to further expose the Aquino governments’ neglect of its responsibility to provide mass transport service for the people. They see the increases in fares, tolls, prices of commodities and basic social services will snowball and explode in the face of the Aquino administration as a wake-up call for it to refrain from pursuing its anti-people policies.

“We are determined to wage this battle. If the government succeeds on imposing additional burdens to the people, we vow to challenge them in courts and in the streets. People power is always an option,” Malunes said.

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