Riles Network slam LTFRB-DOTC-MALACANANG hocus-pocus; “Fare hike imposition, just a ROLE PLAYING GAME for Noynoy”

16 May
Rally at the LTFRB

photo courtesy of TUDLA Productions

Members of the Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (RILES) Network trooped to the office of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and condemned what they call the dubious hocus-pocus of the Department of Transportation and Communication, LTFRB and Malacanang to impose new fares for the last remaining public mass transport system, the LRT.

RILES Network described the fare hikes as a mere role playing game (RPG) for seemingly three different government entities but are actually one-and-the-same. The LTFRB declared its approval of the LRTA and DOTC petition to increase fares last May 10 in the absence of a public hearing. The LRTA Board is composed of members of the Aquino cabinet, has conveniently maneuvered its way to succeed in the privatization of the LRT and the MRT based on the directions of Malacañang. The LTFRB is part of the LRTA board with Chairman Nelson Laluces as one of eight members of its Board of Directors.

RILES Network spokesperson Sammy Malunes questioned the process where the LTFRB was given so much power to grant the LRTA/DOTC petition. “This situation shows us that the petitioner (DOTC, LRTA) where the LTFRB chairman is a member, will be asking for the approval of the LTFRB. You are part of the petitioner and you have the power to decide on the validity of your petition? How is that even possible? The Aquino government is now insulting us by taking the riding public for fools.”

No public hearing by LTFRB
Malunes also said that the LTFRB did not conduct any public hearing on the matter of the petition to raise the fares. He cited that there were two public consultations, not public hearing, held by the LRTA in Feb 14-15 which showed the overwhelming opposition to the fare hike.

“Are these people not listening to what the people have to say? We have sent our position papers and the signatures of thousands of workers, students and the riding public demanding the junking of the fare increases. And now, with one stroke of the LTFRB, are we just to be held hostage to their dictates?”

Villains not heroes
Malunes also lambasted the DOTC for acting like heroes expecting the gratitude of the public for deferring the implementation of the fare hike. “The public did not ask for a deferment of the implementation of new fares. We demand the outright junking of the fare hike not only because of the current difficulties we are experiencing but also because of our right to avail of this public service. Treachery is an act by villains, not heroes.”

RILES Network pledged to block the fare hike proposal and challenged the Aquino government to withdraw its plan to privatize the LRT and MRT. They said that the fare hike which will be added to the sufferings of ordinary people is only meant to open the light rail system to private entities salivating over its profitability.

“Ultimately, the interest of the people is being sold by this government to the highest bidder. The riding public, the fares we pay, are just ways of marketing the LRT and the MRT to private businesses. This is further highlighted by the fact that the government never heeded the people’s call for a substantial increase in wages amidst skyrocketing prices of goods and services.”

RILES Network will be seeking the support of government officials, particularly from the congress and senate to block the implementation of the LTFRB decision.

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