Aquino dared to public debate on fare hikes anew

9 Jan

Responding to Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s statements against critics of fare hikes in the MRT and LRT, commuters’ group Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (RILES) Network renewed its challenge to the chief executive to a public debate on the issue.

DSC06874The group said Aquino cannot defend his claims that the fare hike is “reasonable,” that critics of the fare hike are only after self-promotion, and that there are no real alternatives to the fare hike.

“Aquino confines himself with vague generalizations on a very important issue and refuses to engage with the 1,001 sound arguments against the MRT-LRT fare hike. If he really understands what he’s saying, he should face us in a public debate,” said Sammy Malunes, RILES Network spokesperson.

The group cited independent think-tank Ibon Foundation’s study showing that fare levels before the increase were enough to cover the train systems’ operation and maintenance.

It also cited Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Jose Emilio Abaya’s admission that the fare hike would go to the government’s big capitalist contractors.

“This fare hike is reasonable only for the government’s big capitalist contractors and within the pro-capitalist and anti-poor logic of the government’s Public-Private Partnership program. The fare hike is patently unreasonable for the riding public,” Malunes added.

RILES Network also belied Aquino’s claims that critics of the fare hike are not offering alternatives, claiming that it has consistently proposed measures to ensure that fares would not go up and service in the train systems would be improved.

“We have not been remiss in advancing proposals for the MRT and LRT. The government should subsidize an efficient, safe and affordable mass transport system including the MRT and LRT. It should junk contracts with big capitalists which are onerous to the Filipino people,” Malunes stated.

RILES Network vows to hold protests in key MRT and LRT stations in the morning of January 12, the second Monday that the fare hikes will be implemented. ###

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