Group hits Aquino’s faulty reasoning on MRT-LRT fare hike

24 Jul

Media Release
23 July 2013

A network opposing plans to hike fares in the MRT and LRT condemned Pres. Noynoy Aquino today for his “faulty reasoning” on the plan, saying the public’s interest should be the government’s main consideration in deciding on the issue.

The Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (RILES) Network slammed Aquino who, in his fourth State of the Nation Address last Monday, cited the previous government’s refusal to hike fares in the train stations as an example of politicking.

RILES Network said the president is committing the fallacy of “guilt by association” in trying to demonize the refusal to hike fares in the MRT and LRT by associating it with former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s political maneuvers.

“The fact that the Arroyo government refused to hike fares in the MRT and LRT does not mean that the Aquino government should hike fares. The main consideration in this issue should not be Arroyo, but the public’s interest,” said Sammy Malunes, RILES Network convernor.

“It is condemnable that Aquino talked about ‘inclusive growth’ while pushing for a measure that would make the public’s lives more difficult. The increasing rates of social services, including fares in the MRT-LRT, increase the already-immense burden borne by Filipinos,” he added.

RILES Network said that the Aquino government is also guilty of the “privatization fallacy” in which payments for social services are hiked or social services are privatized because the government is putting subsidy into these.

“The government may be pouring a lot of subsidy on the train systems, but it does not follow that their fares should be increased or that they should be privatized. The government can and must renegotiate the contracts for the MRT and LRT,” he added.

The group said that according to government data, 65% of the commuters of the MRT and LRT are workers while 30% are students.

It also said that most of the government subsidy being alloted to the train systems only go to big capitalists’ pockets because of the contracts for the MRT and LRT which the government entered into and which guarantee profits for big capitalists.

The group cited the hundreds of millions of pesos that go to local and foreign contractors in maintenance management payment, the 15% guaranteed profits for contractors, and the P5.3 billion equity rental for the MRT.

“Aquino should not push for a fare hike. If he is really sincere in his ‘daang matuwid’ slogan, he should go after previous governments which entered into contracts for the MRT and LRT that are severely disadvantageous to the Filipino people,” Malunes said.

“Aquino should renegotiate the contracts for the MRT and LRT. He should also renegotiate the terms and conditions governing posters, billboards and connecting ways to the biggest malls and generate revenues from these,” he said.

“The public has a right to an efficient, safe and affordable mass transport system. Fares in the MRT and LRT should not be compared with fares in busses that are ran as private business by local capitalists,” he added.###

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