Transparency group warns public for another ‘hellish’ commuting this Yuletide season
After Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya turned his back on his promise of new coaches for the country’s train system this year, transparency group Filipino Alliance for Transparency and Empowerment (FATE) on Friday braced the public for another “hellish-like” commuting experience this coming Yuletide season.
Benjamin Peralta, FATE’s secretary general said that once again, the people are made to suffer by President Benigno Aquino III while his trusted officials continue to make unprecedented blunders and still hold their posts like untouchable gang chiefs.
“The slogan of this administration, ‘kayo (we) ang boss ko’, simply put is just a slogan, a brainwashing tool for small people like us to continue hoping for the best while the public money is being wasted on unwanted projects and money-making schemes solely for the pockets of the crooks in the government,” Peralta said.
Abaya outlined in 2014 that about P9.7 billion in projects, including the acquisition of 48 new train coaches valued at P3.76 billion were expected to be delivered from September 2015 until the end of 2016, and a private sector-funded P1.09-billion automated fare collection system.
Other projects include spending P1.16 billion to overhaul 28 trains, which will be done by 2016, P870 million for ancillary systems and even smaller items, like spending P50 million to replace “obsolete” escalators.
Despite these promises, Abaya so far has only completed the upgrading of the fare collection system of both the Metro Rail Transit and Light Rail Transit system. This is despite the increase of fares imposed last January supposedly to improve services for the commuters and for the purchase of additional train coaches.
“Just what the government repeatedly is forcing us to do, ‘bahala na uli tayo sa buhay natin ngayong Kapaskuhan’. After showing the world this last APEC the seamless organizing of the event, now we will be back in the reality of a chaotic society and services especially in the mass transport system,” Peralta added.
Recently, Senator Grace Poe chided Abaya in saying that the people deserves a better DOTC secretary after the official admitted that the public will have to wait until 2016 before they can see an improvement in the metro train service.
Last August, a prototype of the new train coach arrived in the country for testing. Abaya however, made another promise, saying that the new train coaches will definitely arrive sometime in the first quarter of 2016, improving passenger capacity and mobility.
On a normal day, the MRT has an average of 560,000 passengers exceeding its capacity pegged at 540,000 while the LRT Line has an average of 500,000 passengers and the LRT Line 2 got 240,000 passengers daily. This figures are expected to double this coming December especially during the Christmas rush hours.
Without additional trains, the riding public this December could expect kilometers of lines in every station and hours of wasted time with the current state of the country’s transport system.