Aquino’s PPP to accelerate privatization, fare hikes in MRT and LRT

ANAKPAWIS members trooped to LRT Monumento Station today as part of its ongoing campaign against MRT and LRT fare hike to be implemented by the Aquino administration starting next year.

In a dialogue with the Riles Network last November 20, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) confirmed that fare hikes will push through in 2013 and the agency is now fixing the new rates for LRT Lines 1 and 2 and MRT 3.

DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya also confirmed that the government will accelerate Public- Private Partnership (PPP) in the transport sector. Some other infrastructure projects that DOTC has already rolled in partnership with the private sectors include the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 South Extension, operation and maintenance of LRT 1 & 2, automatic fare collection system on LRT 1 & 2 and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3.

“The Aquino government’s PPP will accelerate the privatization of the LRT and MRT and inevitably result to fare increase in the train system.”

“The government will implement a P6 to P15 increase in MRT and LRT fares starting next year. Since 2010, the DOTC has been conditioning the public that fare hikes are needed to improve the operation and service of the train system. The planned fare increase deserves the broadest opposition from the public,” said Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano.

“Affected sectors, particularly workers, employers and the riding public must resist the planned fare hike. With the unending spate of price hikes, any amount of MRT and LRT fare increase will be burdensome to ordinary commuters.The fare hike will add up to the constantly rising cost of basic goods, services and utilities, further depressing the income of wage and salary earners,” Mariano said.

Anakpawis Partylist reiterated its demand for a public auditing of MRT and LRT revenues and operation expenses because a large portion of train revenues and government subsidy is spent for paying loans and debts to private investors.

“We must resist the government’s plan to pass on its debts to the public. According to the LRTA, the government is paying an average of P7.8 billion annually for financial obligations under the build-lease and transfer (BLT) agreement of MRT and P2.341 million in annual debts for LRT Line 1 and 2.”

Anakpawis Partylist, Riles Network and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan will continue with the weekly petition-signing and mass actions in MRT and LRT stations to encourage commuters to resist the planned fare hike.

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