Commuters protest MRT-LRT fare hike, dared Aquino to debate

29 Dec

Commuter group Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (RILES Network) challenged President Benigno S. Aquino to a public debate on the MRT-LRT fare hike daring the Chief Executive to personally bare the government’s real motive in increasing fares in front of the aggrieved commuters.

“We challenge President Aquino to a public debate. Let’s see if he can bare, straight in the face of the aggrieved riding public, the government’s hideous reasons for increasing MRT and LRT fares” Sammy Malunes, RILES spokesperson said.

RILES network claimed that there is no need to increase fares in the MRT and LRT as all 3 lines are earning sufficient income, to operate, maintain, improve and even expand the elevated railway systems’ operations and that the increase would only go straight to the pockets of private contractors under onerous agreements.

“This government is lying to its teeth in claiming that the fare hike is inevitable, that it is needed to improve the railways’ services. The only reason the government wants to increase fares is to ensure the superprofits of private contractors and investors as promised under onerous contracts signed by the government at the expense of the riding public” Malunes said.

Malunes cited the statement of DOTC Secretary Joseph Abaya admitting that the estimated P1 billion added annual income from the MRT fare hike will be used to pay the government’s monthly dues to the MRT Corporation under the build-lease-transfer agreement. He also cited that the annual fare hike is a perk given to the Ayalas and Pangilinans under the LRT privatization contract.

photo from the Philippine Collegian.

photo from the Philippine Collegian.

RILES Network also insisted that MRT and LRT fares should instead be rolled back as power distributors are bound to reduce rates next year following the almost 50% plunge of international crude oil prices since June.

“It is enraging to us commuters that the Aquino government is rushing the fare hike on January when the MRT and LRT’s electricity costs are expected drop just to rake-in bigger revenues. Even enraging is the fact that not a single centavo from these revenues would be spent on easing the hell-like conditions we commuters go through everyday” Malunes said.

The commuter group meanwhile said they will exhaust every possible forms of protest to stop the MRT and LRT fare hikes. They also called on fellow commuters to join protests and maximize even the social media to express their opposition to the fare hike.

“We are calling on the riding public and all Filipinos to speak up and protest against the MRT and LRT fare hike. We will hold bigger protests to stop the fare hike and would use various platforms, even the social media, to expose and oppose the Aquino government’s anti-commuter and anti-people fare hike” Malunes said. ###

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Riles Laan sa Sambayanan

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