05 February 2011
“President Aquino is not doing everything within his power to stop the impending fare hikes in the MRT and LRT.”
This was the statement of labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno on the second day of the LRT Administration’s public consultations on the proposed fare increases in the train systems, where KMU, Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (RILES) Network and other groups held a picket calling for the junking of the fare hikes.
“If he is really concerned with the plight of his people, Noynoy should push for the renegotiation of government debts to the big banks and corporations which invested in the construction of the LRT and MRT. He should stand up for the Filipino workers and people who are suffering from poverty and hunger, and stand up to the big banks and corporations on this issue,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.
“Noynoy, however, has made it clear that his government will have none of any proposal that will reduce the immense profits of big banks and corporations. He has pushed for this fare hike even in his first State of the Nation Address. Attracting foreign investors and handing out government assets to them through privatization are his government’s policy,” he added.
“Because the government is clearly hell-bent on increasing fares in the MRT and LRT, we do not have any reason to believe that the meetings being conducted by the LRTA are genuine public consultations. These public consultations are mere PR stunts aimed at making it appear that the fare hikes are pro-worker and pro-people when they clearly are not,” Soluta said.
Soluta cited government data showing that the present MRT-LRT revenue from commuters’ fare and businesses in the train stations is enough to finance current maintenance and operation costs.
“Presidente Pamasahe is only too happy to force the Filipino workers and people to contribute to the considerable wealth of big banks and corporations through these fare hikes. As his recent purchase of a sports car amidst rising prices shows, he is divorced from the sufferings of the Filipino workers and people, and is callous towards the latter,” Soluta said.