Group slams MRT fare hike, says any amount of increase in rates unwarranted

AN increase is an increase.

This is what the youth group Anakbayan said as it slammed the MRT-3 fare hike anew, saying it will be a burden to ordinary Filipinos and that public transportation should be a social service and not a profit-driven entity.

The Palace and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) prevously said that a planned P6 fare hike would be a “good compromise.”

“It is not a good compromise; rather, it will compromise access to what is supposed to be a social service. It will be an additional burden to workers, students and the riding public,” Anakbayan Chair Vencer Crisostomo said.

Crisostomo said not even a peso should be added to the train fare rates, saying the government should not pass on to commuters the onerous and anomalous debts incurred by the project which ensured superprofits for contractors and private operators.

“They are trying to decieve the public by saying the rate hike will lead to improvement of services. This is not true. The DOTC admitted last year that government subsidy for the train systems go to the latter’s debt to foreign banks and investors,” he said.

Crisostomo said the DOTC should disclose to the public and should account where train revenues and subsidies go.

Crisostomo also said the motive behind the fare hikes is privatization of public transport and abandonment of government responsibility to provide affordable transportation.

“The fare hike in the train systems is the first move towards privatization. Once privatized, companies handling its operations will be free from state intervention. This means that riding public would have to pay more as companies dictate fares,” he said.

Anakbayan vows to hold protests against the fare hikes and said affected students are sure to take action against the plan. They are launching their “Strike the Hike” campaign vs fare hikes.

“An increase is an increase. Why should the riding public pay for the profits of government cronies? There should be an investigation of these deals. The government’s ‘generosity’ to foreign companies at the expense of the people is what derails the country’s progress,” Crisostomo said.

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