Group pickets DOTC, slam MRT-LRT fare hike notice

24 Jun

The Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (RILES) Network held a protest in front of the Department of Transportation and Communications main office along Ortigas Avenue this morning to condemn the announcement made by Sec. Joseph Emilio Abaya last Thursday that fares in the MRT and LRT will be increased starting August.

RILES Network said the fare hike would increase the burden on the backs of the riding public and is a portent of bigger fare hikes as it aims to entice big business to bid in the train system’s privatization.

It also said that Filipinos have the right to an affordable, efficient and safe mass transport system, and that the government has the duty to subsidize such a transport system.

It urged the Aquino government to renegotiate contracts with the private sector regarding the MRT and LRT with the objective of reducing subsidy that go to business profits and increasing subsidy for the trains’ improvement.

To illustrate the fare hike’s effect on the riding public, the protestors showed a big paper train running over ordinary Filipinos.

“The Aquino government has kept on trying to implement this fare hike but has failed to actually implement the latter. It knows how badly this will affect the public and how this will make the public really angry at the government,” said Sammy Malunes, RILES Network spokesperson.

“Big capitalists, however, want the MRT and LRT and the Aquino government is only too happy to follow their dictates. Aquino will surely think twice, thrice even, before making this highly unpopular move,” he added.

Malacañang on Friday said public consultations will still be conducted on the P10 fare hike which Abaya said will be implemented in two equal tranches on August and in 2014.

“We will surely attend those public consultations. Beyond that, we vow to continue to hold protests against the fare hikes in the MRT and LRT and the train systems’ privatization,” said Herman Tiu Laurel, also a spokesperson of the RILES Network.

“What is happening in Brazil should be a warning to the Aquino government. Fare hikes can trigger huge protests amidst soaring unemployment, rising prices and rock-bottom wages,” he added.

The ongoing protests in Brazil were triggered by a $0.10 (equivalent to more than P4.00) increase in the fares of busses.###

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