Protests vs. MRT-LRT fare hike won’t calm down

Responding to Malacañang’s call to those protesting the recently-approved fare hikes in the MRT and LRT to “calm down,” Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (RILES) Network said today that protests will continue as long as the government persists in withdrawing from subsidizing mass transport systems in the country.

”Protests against the MRT and LRT fare hikes will not be calmed down by the Aquino government’s defense of the increase. As long as the government continues to offer mass transportation systems to businesses as profit-making ventures, the protests will continue. As long as the government persists in increasing MRT and LRT fares amidst increasing poverty and hunger incidence, the protests will intensify,” said Sammy Malunes, RILES spokesperson.

”The Aquino government should stop asking the people to understand that the fare increase has been delayed for so long; it should start understanding that the people’s income has been decreasing steadily for so long,” he added.

RILES cited the recent Social Weather Stations survey showing an 18.1% hunger incidence in the last three months. It also cited a recent International Labor Organization report saying the wage level in the country is one of the most wage levels due to the current global economic crisis.

The broad network also labeled the Department of Transportation and Communications a “Department of Token Consultations,” which declares increases in people’s payments before holding consultations with affected sectors – as in the case of the SLEX and NLEX toll fee increase.

”The Aquino government will not fool us, the people, with promises of consultations to prettify its fee impositions. The Department of Token Consultations is exposing itself as nothing but the spokesperson and implementor of the wishes of the capitalists who stand to benefit from the MRT and LRT fare hikes, as well as from the SLEX and NLEX toll fee increases,” Malunes said.

”The DOTC cannot even justify its proposed fare matrix – a clear indication that the fare hike is not intended to improve transport services but to increase the profits of capitalist investors. It is promising consultations after showing that it is hell-bent on implementing the increase in the soonest possible time,” he added.

”We know that we cannot depend on the DOTC’s sham consultations to uphold the people’s interests on the issue of the MRT and LRT fare hike, that’s why we will continue and intensify our protests in the coming days, weeks and months. The people’s stand on this issue is crystal-clear: No to the MRT-LRT fare hikes!” Malunes said.  D’ Jay Lazaro

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