SLEX, NLEX toll hike ‘anti-poor,’ says KMU

LABOR center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) yesterday slammed the impending toll hikes in the southern and northern Luzon expressways, calling these “anti-poor, arbitrary and treacherous.”

Last December 18, the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) announced the implementation of toll fee hikes in the Southern Luzon Expressway starting January 1.

Yesterday, the TRB released full-page ads in broadsheets announcing the implementation of toll fee increases in the Northern Luzon Expressway also starting January 1.

“Toll fee hikes in the SLEX and NLEX are anti-poor because they will cause increases in the prices of goods that are transported through these highways. What we are seeing is a ‘highway robbery’ of the meager wages of workers in the National Capital Region and nearby regions,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“These increases are arbitrary because they were undertaken without public hearings with sectors which will be affected and without petitions coming from the private companies handling the expressways. They are treacherous because they were simply announced during the Christmas season, when people are already having fun with their families and friends,” he added.

KMU also criticized the Toll Regulatory Board for approving the hikes, saying the board has not fulfilled its mandate of being a regulatory board.

“It is obvious from its actions, with the lack of public consultations and petitions on these onerous toll fee hikes, that the Toll Regulatory Board is not a regulatory board. The TRB is a rubber stamp, a spokesperson and an implementor of the private companies in milking the Filipino workers and people dry,” Labog said.

“We condemn these increases and the TRB’s approval of these. It is clear that its only purpose is to give legitimacy to the dictates of the private companies involved,” he added. D’jay Lazaro

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