Commuter group kicks off series of protests vs MRT-LRT fare hike

31 Jul

 

 

 

Commuter group Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (RILES) Network kicked off its series of protests against the Aquino administration’s plan to increase fares in the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT).

 

 

 

According to RILES Network spokesperson Sammy Malunes, the group is bringing together organizations and allies from concerned sectors to hold a big protest action against the planned fare hike.

 

 

 

“The LRT and MRT fare hike is another heavy burden for the public. We must not allow the Aquino administration to further siphon off big profits for private corporations from the empty pockets of the Filipino people,” Malunes said.

 

 

 

The RILES Network also slammed President Aquino for trying to justify the fare hikes by pitting Metro Manila residents against those from the Visayas and Mindanao in his last State of the Nation Address (SONA), calling the statement a desperate “divide and conquer” tactic to justify the fare hike.

 

 

 

“The fare hike itself is unjust because whether it is paid for by those from Sulu or Manila, it would still be for the benefit of big business and detrimental to the public’s interests,” Malunes said.

 

 

 

The group cited Sen. Ralph Recto’s response to such rhetoric in which the senator showed data that the biggest amount of taxes that is collected in the country comes from Metro Manila.

 

 

 

“In his desperation to justify the fare hike, Aquino is resorting to lies. He has chosen a divide-and rule rhetoric that does not even hold water,” Malunes said.

 

 

 

“The rhetoric itself is despicable because the logical conclusion is that individuals should pay fully for what they consume. What is the government for if that is the case? ” he added.

 

 

 

“The LRT and the MRT are public utilities that are vital to our economy and must be subsidized by the government. The problem is that this government could spend millions for fake NGO’s and for big bonuses for its officials but not for public services,” he said.

 

 

 

The commuter group meanwhile encouraged the public to participate in the series of protests against the LRT-MRT fare hikes and warned the Aquino administration of a big protest action should the government persist on its plan.

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