Abaya confirms MRT fare will go up next year; groups plan street protestsINQUIRER.net
MANILA, Philippines – Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya on Monday confirmed that the planned fare increase for Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) will go ahead next year.
In his first press conference as Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) chief, Abaya said the P10 fare hike for the MRT will reduce the financial burden of the government, which shoulders roughly P55 subsidy per passenger.
He said the MRT fare increase is still much cheaper compared to the P45-bus fare from North Edsa to Taft Avenue in Pasay City.
In the planned fare hike, the new maximum MRT fare (Taft Avenue to North Edsa and vice versa) will be at P25 from P15.
The government spent P75 billion in 10 years for the MRT subsidy.
The news that a fare hike will greet train riders next year drew sharp criticisms from various sectors Monday.
Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (Riles Network) warned of heightened protest over government’s decision for MRT fare increase.
“We’ll bring the battle back to the streets,” the group said in a statement.
“The government suspended its implementation of the fare hike only temporarily and just waited for protests to subside,” Riles convenor Sammy Malunes said.
The Riles Network has actively campaigned for the junking of any increase in fares since 2010, citing the welfare of the riding public and the responsibility of the government to provide affordable mass transportation.
“But the students, workers and the public who are dependent on the MRT for affordable transportation will not waver from protesting as the government resurrects its evil plans,” Malunes said.
Malunes said the fare hike will add another burden to Filipinos still suffering from economic hardships. “Hunger incidence and joblessness in the country remain highest in the Southeast Asian region. Prices are skyrocketing while the wages of workers plummet to all-time lows.”
RILES co-convenor Herman “Mentong” Laurel said, “The MRT fare hike revival is in line with the government’s plan to completely give up the control over the metro rail system to Metro Pacific Investment Corporation and Ayala Corp. The public should be wary of the irregularities in the board meetings of the MRTC where Manny V. Pangilinan’s group virtually dictated decisions on the all aspects of MRTC’s operations. Is MVP in control of the DOTC now?
Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) on Monday resumed its signature campaign against the impending LRT and MRT fare hike as it warned the public that the Aquino administration is determined to push through with the huge increases next year as part of its public-private partnership (PPP) program.
Members of Bayan urged MRT commuters at the train’s busy Ortigas station along Edsa to sign the petition opposing what it called unconscionable additional burden to the people. The group timed its protest action with the deadline set by the DOTC for interested bidders in the privatization of LRT 1 to submit pre-qualification requirements, which Bayan said is tied to the fare hike.
Bayan disputed claims of the DOTC that the LRT and MRT fare hike is needed to lessen the supposed subsidies being spent by government to operate and maintain the trains as well as to improve the quality of their service. According to Bayan, the Aquino administration is aggressively pushing for the fare hike to make it more attractive to potential private investors.