Fare hike pains

THERE is no stopping the fare increases for public transportation – jeepneys, buses, trains, taxis. There is no stopping it, whether we like it or not, because there is also no stopping the increasing prices of oil products.

Unfortunately for many of us, who are dependent on our daily wages from the government or the private sector, there is nowhere to get the additional centavos to add to our transportation budget.

Over the weekend, we broke the four-year-old “alkansya” to discover that it only has about P6,000 of P5 and P10 coins. How long will it last for the kid’s “baon” and taxi fare? With the impending fare increases, our coins will not last long.

We join the riding public in calling for the junking of the proposed increase in MRT and LRT fares. This much we can do.

Unlike jeepneys and taxis, even buses, that are operated by struggling entrepreneurs, the MRT and LRT are run by private firms that benefit from the people’s need to travel daily to their places of work.

We believe that the Department of Transportation and Communication, which is behind the supposed plan to privatize the mass transport system, can do something to ease the burden of the riding public.

A group of protesting commuters said the mass transport service should remain under the “administration of people who do not regard it as a lucrative business venture.”

The group said it should remain in the hands of “genuine public servants who knows their job and commits to their pledge to serve the taxpaying public.”

That is something hard to find these days.

Anyway, the masses are not alone in the fight for an affordable transport system. Even the so-called “professionals” in Makati are complaining about the planned fare hike, saying that any increase in expenses will affect the budget of the middle class.

“The Aquino government should listen to the people. What we need now are not price hikes but wage hike. Otherwise, we will continue to take to the streets to make our points across,” warned one middle-class protester.

Indeed everybody is complaining already about the hard times. We know that we have to bear the pain for us to move forward, but somehow the government should do its part to at least help us carry the burden.

There is no stopping the fare hike and the price increases, but there is also no stopping the government to, for instance, legislate already a new wage hike that will benefit ordinary workers.

There is no stopping the government to look into the employment requirements of companies, even government agencies, to address the growing number of unemployed and under-employed Filipinos.

There is no stopping the government not to increase the MRT and LRT fares, too.


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