Unpopular fare hike to fund unpopular Aquino candidate in 2016 – commuters’ group

12 Jan

Leading protests on the second Monday of the implementation of the MRT-LRT fare hike, a commuters’ group called on the public to continue protesting the unpopular move which it claimed will be used to fund the unpopular candidate of Pres. Noynoy Aquino in the 2016 elections.

The Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (RILES) Network said that the Aquino government has set the stage for declaring at least P2.1 billion from the national budget as “savings” along the lines of the Disbursement Acceleration Program and using the said fund as presidential pork.

Larawan mula kay Kathy Yamzon

Larawan mula kay Kathy Yamzon

It said funds from fares for the MRT and LRT can finance the trains’ operations and maintenance and that allocations in the 2015 national budget have already been made for the trains’ rehabilitation and upgrading.

“The riding public and all Filipinos have another reason to oppose the fare hike. It appears that the Aquino government is working to set aside funds for the 2016 elections from this additional burden for train commuters,” said Sammy Malunes, RILES Network spokesperson.

He said that the history of privatization transactions in the country shows that corruption goes hand-in-hand with privatization, as big capitalists who benefit from privatization give bribes to politicians at the top levels of the government.

“The Aquino government stands to earn a lot in terms of kickbacks from privatizing the MRT and LRT. It is no accident that bidding for the trains have been marred by allegations of extortion and fraud,” Malunes added.

He was referring to allegations that former MRT 3 General Manager Al Vitangcol III tried to extort $30 million from Czech company Inekon Group in relation to bidding for the train system’s coaches.

“The Aquino government is hell-bent on imposing a fare hike in the MRT and LRT because it has vested interest in the move. We vow to intensify protests and not allow Aquino to raise funds through an unpopular move in order to finance his unpopular candidate in 2016,” Malunes said.###

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