Group slams ‘back-to-back’ price hikes

THE youth group Anakbayan today assailed the government of President Noynoy Aquino for the impending increases in rates of public utilities and government services.

Anakbayan called the Aquino administration “insensitive, oppressive and anti-poor” amidst recent news of “back-to-back” increases in government transaction rates, train fares, toll and electricity rate hikes.

A few weeks ago, the president signed Administrative Order no 31, which called on government offices to “rationalize” rates and increase fees. The DOTC also announced a P10 planned increase in train fares to take effect early next year. Toll rates are also expected to rise after the All Saints and All Souls Day.

Electricity rates have already spiked this month and Meralco announced its plans to impose additional fees in January.

“Parang walang Pasko-pasko para sa Palasyo, nagpaulan agad ng regalong pahirap sa taumbayan. Lahat na lang taas ng taas sa ilalim ni Aquino,” Anakbayan national chairperson Vencer Crisostomo said.

Crisostomo said the price hikes smack of “insensitivity” to the plight of poor people.

“The recent price hikes show Aquino’s insensitivity to the plight of the poor. It is within his powers to stop all these price increases but he does nothing – he even defends the continuing abuse against our kababayans. This is classic noynoying,” he said.

Anakbayan earlier questioned AO 31, calling it legitimized forms of “kotong and holdap,” basically turning government agencies into fund-raising entities.

“This is commercialization of government service. Ngayon pa lang, di na makatarungan ang paniningil sa ibang ahensya. Di ba nagbabayad tayo ng buwis? Bakit sisingilin pa ang taumbayan para sa serbisyo publiko. Di na nga pinipigilan ang pagtataas ng presyo ng bilihin, yung mismong mga government offices pa ay makikikotong,” he said.

Crisostomo also assailed the planned increase in MRT rates, saying the move will make commuters pay for unfair, onerous contracts and debts.

“Clearly, the Aquino government is furthering the interests of its cronies in big business. Yun ang boss niya,” said Crisostomo.

Anakbayan also assailed the recent statement of the Energy Regulatory Commission defending Meralco’s deposit bill fee and called the ERC “Meralco spokesmen.”

“Meanwhile, the government is pressing down wages, reducing public spending for social services and increasing tax burden. This is an oppressive, anti-poor administration. Sa tuwid na daan, mahal ang pamasahe, mahal ang serbisyo at maraming kotong,” he said.

Anakbayan is relaunching its “Strike the Hike” campaign at will hold a nationwide 1 million signature drive against Aquino’s price hikes.

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