Commuters’ network continues with protests, press TRO vs. fare hike

9 Feb

More than a month after the fare hikes in the MRT and LRT took effect, a commuters’ network continued to hold protests at various stations of the train systems to demand a rollback in the fares.

Carrying giant letters that read “TRO NOW!” commuters’ group Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (RILES) Network held a protest this morning at the SM North station of the MRT and other stations of the train systems and called on the Supreme Court to issue a Temporary Restraining Order against the fare hike.

photo from DZMMTeleradyo website

photo from DZMMTeleradyo website

“One month into the implementation of the MRT-LRT fare hike, we commuters still cannot accept that we are paying higher fares for what should be a form of government service to Filipinos. We are calling on the SC to issue a TRO against this most unjust fare hike. We demand a fare rollback,” said Sammy Malunes, RILES Network spokesperson.

He said the government of Pres. Noynoy Aquino and proponents of the fare hike are out to try to justify the move to the public in order to make the latter accept the significant jump in the fares for the MRT and LRT.

Malunes cited the statement of the Foundation for Economic Freedom that was published in the February 8 issue of thePhilippine Daily Inquirer, which states that fares in the train system should not be kept “below their economic value and marginal cost.”

“The FEF is trying to justify the wholesale privatization of government services that are most essential for Filipinos and are best provided by the government. It does not have a concept of social services and wants big capitalists to run these as businesses from which they can amass huge profits,” said Malunes.

The RILES Network said that the fare hike is a signal to the train systems’ privatization and that privatization, most noticibly in the power and water sectors most crucial to the economy, has only brought about higher payments for consumers and higher profits for big capitalists.

“Privatization has repeatedly meant bondage for consumers and further freedom for big capitalists. Fanatics of the free market like the FEF turn a blind eye to this fact, fully-focused as they are with increasing the profits of big capitalists,” Malunes added.

The group asked train commuters to continue using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to express their call for a rollback in fares in the MRT and LRT until their demand is met.

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