Anti-fare hike group to intensify protests

A GROUP against the fare hike in Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) yesterday vowed to intensify public protests to derail the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) plan that is set to be implemented either next month or November.

“The Aquino government wanted to implement the fare hike starting this month, but it postponed the move to a few months more because it saw the strong public reaction against it,” said Sammy Malunes, spokesperson of Riles Laan sa Sambayanan  (Riles) Network.

Malunes added: “What we do right now is the heightening of our opposition to the fare hike so the government will postpone it forever.”

Riles is a loose network of MRT and LRT commuters, workers, students who oppose the fare hike and privatization of the train systems.

“We contest Secretary Ping de Jesus’ unfounded argument that the proposed maximum fare of P30 for all train lines is affordable because the public can pay the amount in an aircon bus,” Malunes said. “In the first place, people prefer the train lines to the busses because fares are lower and the travel is faster.”

He said the proposed P30 minimum fare will eat up more than the recent P22 minimum wage increase for Metro Manila workers.

Worse, it will raise the transportation cost of a worker who earns the minimum wage of P404 to at least 20%, the Riles spokesman pointed out.  D’Jay Lazaro

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