Groups condemn DOTC for arbitrary imposition of fare increase; Calls on riding public to oppose privatization of MRT and LRT

19 Nov

MRT fare hike protest

Members of Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (RILES Network) and Koalisyon ng Progresibong Manggagawa at Mamamayan (KPMM) reintensify their protests as the increase in fares in LRT and MRT looms come 2013.

Enjoining commuters to sign in the manifesto against the fare hike, they picketed the busiest MRT station in North Avenue, Quezon City to resound the call for the junking of what they call “renewed attack on the people’s welfare”.

Signature campaign

Mostly students, workers and young urban professionals, the protesters demand the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Sec. Joseph Abaya to learn from the mistakes of his predecessors who earned the ire of millions of commuters for insisting on their fare hike proposal. Sec. Ping de Jesus was allegedly sacked from his post for losing the grace of the president for irregularities in the privatization of MRT. More than that, the first few days of de Jesus was highlighted by continuous protest actions in the DOTC and MRT stations.

Sammy Malunes

RILES Network Convenor and KPMM spokesperson Sammy Malunes said that the people will stop at nothing to derail the implementation of the fare increase. He said that the people’s welfare should be the primary consideration of the Aquino government and not the interest of big businessman who want to buy off the light rail system.

Malunes added that the government is arbitrarily imposing new fares despite widespread public outcry against the move.

“Based on the data presented by the LRT and MRT representatives in the 2011 public consultations, the total revenue of the LRT and MRT is enough to pay for the maintenance and operations cost of the light rail system. The current fares are enough to cover the actual expenses for the operations of LRT-1 and 2,” said Malunes.

“Additional fares are only meant to pay for the equity payments incurred in the build-lease-transfer (BLT) agreement with private developers. Therefore, the fare increase is only meant to collect the peoples’ money to pay for the onerous debts with the lenders/investors of the LRT and MRT,” added Malunes.

Ka Mentong Laurel

RILES Network co-convenor Herman “Ka Mentong” Laurel also cited that instead of increasing fares, the government should actually maintain the LRT and MRT for the riding public. He said that the revival of the fare increase plan is in line with the Aquino government’s plan to completely sell the MRT to business tycoon Manny Pangilinan.

“Commuters should be forewarned that the increase in fares is not meant to improve the services as what the government has been claiming. Rather, it’s an attempt to entice big businessmen to enter their bid on the sale of the MRT and LRT. If this happens, the operations of the MRT and LRT will be in the hands of greedy profiteering businessmen who will be relentless in jacking-up fares at our expense,” Laurel said.

The signatures raised by the groups will be used in upcoming battles to halt the MRT and LRT fare increase. They vowed to launch more protests that will snowball in January 2013 should the government push through with its plan. #

More photos

Signature campaign 1

Signature campaign 2

Signature campaign 3

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