Labor group slams jeepney, other fare hikes

MILITANT labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today the Aquino government’s approval of a P1.00 hike in the minimum fare of jeepneys, as well as the impending increase in fares in the MRT and LRT and in jeepneys plying the SLEX and NLEX routes, calling President Benigno Aquino III a “fare hike president” and “Robinhood of big capitalists.”

“The recently-approved jeepney and MRT-LRT fare hikes, as well as the fare hikes resulting from the increase in toll fees in the SLEX and NLEX, are definitely added burdens on the backs of the Filipino workers and people. They are sure to benefit big capitalists, both local and foreign – the true ‘bosses’ of the fare-hike president,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

“This jeepney fare hike was approved supposedly in the interest of drivers, but it is the oil cartel which will really benefit from it. It will not provide jeepney drivers a modicum of relief, for their earnings have long been eaten up by soaring prices of petroleum products and other commodities. As long as the oil cartel can jack up prices at will on top of their overpricing of petroleum products, and as long as the government connives with the oil cartel through the the Oil Deregulation Law, jeepney drivers will not really benefit from fare hikes,” Soluta added.

The labor leader said fare hikes in the MRT and LRT as well as fare hikes resulting from toll hikes in the SLEX and NLEX will go to big foreign banks and corporations who invested in the construction of the said infrastructure.

“The fare hike president is not serving the immediate or long-term interests of the Filipino workers and people with these fare hikes, but the interests of big foreign capitalists. He is proving to be the Robinhood of big capitalists, one who steals from the poor so he can distribute more wealth to the rich,” Soluta said.

Soluta also drew parallels between Pres. Aquino and the erstwhile president of Tunisia, who was ousted by a people’s uprsing, and the current leader of Egypt, the target of mass protests in his country.

“If Pres. Aquino continues with his present course, as he most likely will, he will end up like the former president of Tunisia and the future ex-dictator of Egypt: the target of the people’s outrage and swamped with protests. The Filipino people, like the people of Egypt and Tunisia, have been suffering for so long and Pres. Aquino, by extending former President Arroyo’s economic policies, is merely intensifying our suffering,” he said.

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