Train fare hike is ‘full speed injustice’ – group

Widespread protests greeted today the government’s approval of the LRT and MRT fare hikes.

Led by RILES or Riles Laan sa Sambayanan, a broad network of commuters, workers, students, and the general public, shirt pins with calls “Ibasura ang LRT at MRT fare hike!” and “Serbisyo hindi negosyo!” were distributed to people riding the trains. Petition-signings and noise barrages were also conducted at the MRT North EDSA station, and other parts of the Metro.

“The people’s will has been defied. The interests of the big profiteers have again been favored by the Aquino regime with its approval of the widely-opposed train fare hikes. We enjoin the public to show our full defiance to this latest policy,” Riles spokesperson Sammy Malunes said.

“Not even a single public hearing was held on the fare hike despite the DOTC’s promise over this. Onerous contracts entered into and dubious costings posted by the private firms that built and manage the trains were never scrutinized, as the government stubbornly pushed for the fare hike as the ‘only solution.’

“But we reiterate: mass transport systems such as trains should be social service-oriented. These should never be treated as income-generation vehicles, with the public bearing the burden of ‘losses’,” Malunes said.

Of hikes and hunger

RILES also illustrated how the current hike on the MRT and LRT fares would directly affect the poor. Citing the recent survey of the Social Weather Station indicating a rise in the number of Filipinos who had experienced hunger in the past three months, they said that the increase in fares will only add to the 3.4 million Filipinos who may have nothing to eat.

“The P10 increase in fares is already P20 additional cost for back-and-forth transportation. For an ordinary labourer, or any minimum wage earner, this is equivalent to two packs of instant noodles or a budget meal of vegetables. Monthly, the fare hike is already P400 out of our budget, which can be equivalent to our payment for water bills,” Malunes added.

“As wages remain stagnant and jobs remain scarce, the approval of the fare hikes can only be called ‘full-speed injustice’ to the Filipino people. P-Noy’s ‘daang matuwid’, lined with flagship PPP projects such as he LRT and MRT, is truly a hazardous path to choose.” D’Jay Lazaro

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