House inquiry pushed over proposed MRT, LRT fare hikes; DOTC warned



Metro Rail and Light Rail Transit Systems. FILE PHOTOS

MANILA, Philippines – An inquiry into the looming fare increase by the Metro Rail and Light Rail Transit Systems is being sought at the House of Representatives with a warning from the lawmaker planning to file the resolution that the budget of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) may “even be blocked” if the issue isn’t resolved.

Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Neri Colmenares was reacting to Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya’s announcement that the government was considering increasing train fares by P5 within the year and another P5 in 2014.

“They have been proposing this added burden since 2010 and we will continue to oppose it,” said Colmenares.

“Mass transits are a public service and should be subsidized by the government,” he said.

Colmenares said that Bayan Muna would file a resolution for a congressional inquiry and warned “we may even block the budget of the DOTC”.

Government funds and appropriations require Congress’ approval and Colmenares said that they could raise the issue of the fare increase during the budget deliberations.

Talk about raising train fares has been ongoing but strong opposition against the move has prevented authorities from implementing it.

Back in 2011, then Transportation chief and now Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas’ planned but failed to impose train fare increases and reiterated his position in the budget deliberations at the House in early 2013 that these were necessary to improve MRT and LRT operations.

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