Group slams looming MRT fare hike, says privatization behind increases

CONSUMER group Strike the Hike Movement today slammed the MRT 3 fare hike which will take effect next year as announced by Department of Transportation and Communication Secretary Mar Roxas.

“Whatever way it is seen, the impending MRT fare hike is another burden to the commuters. The Aquino administration is passing the responsibility again and again to the Filipinos instead of delivering social services such as free or affordable but quality transportation system,” said Strike the Hike Movement Spokesperson Dianne Solmayor.

She added, “The fare hike results from the lopsided contracts that the government approves. In the build-operate-transfer framework, the government assures the private company of profits whether they reach their projected earnings or not. If the company wasn’t able to reap their quota, the government will pay for the deficit. So the government will pay the deficit using the people’s money and the people will ride the MRT with a much higher price.”

With the implementation, the fare from Taft to North Avenue will be P28. According to Kabataan Partylist, of the 1.2 million commuters who ride the MRT, 87% of this are unemployed individuals, students, minimum wage workers and professionals who only earn between P10-15 thousand per month.

“Behind the price hikes of basic needs is privatization – electricity, water, infrastructures, transportation lines, social services and other commodities. The continuous conversion of basic needs to private ownership through Public Private Partnership program only result to state abandonment and skyrocketing prices,” said Solmayor.

According to Strike the Hike Movement, privatization of Maynilad caused the increase of water bills, Meralco on electricity, Petron on oil, among others. The consumers, who are also the taxpayers, will eventually have to shoulder the expenses more than they could afford due to the widespread poverty and the costly standard of living. The minimum wage for Metro Manila is between P409 – P446 while P1,008 is needed daily for a family to survive.

“The Aquino administration should scrap onerous contracts or privatization itself as the cause of soaring prices of basic needs. Then, rechannel funds for foreign debt servicing to social services to address the pro-people funding that will be an avenue to nationalize public transport. This way, not only Metro Manila will be given attention but the whole country as well,” Solmayor said.

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