By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – Members of a commuters’ group and sectoral organizations picketed the gates of Supreme Court this morning to press their demand for a Temporary Restraining Order against fare hikes in MRT and LRT.
Supreme Court is holding its en banc session today, and the petition filed by Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (RILES) Network and other organizations against the train fare hikes is likely one of the agenda. It has been a month since the January 5 filing of petition, and the start of implementation of the disputed hike.
“It is easy to see that the fare hikes are illegal, as the DOTC clearly failed to conduct public consultations. The SC could and should immediately issue a TRO against the fare hikes, which has increased the economic burden of commuters,” said Sammy Malunes, RILES Network spokesperson and a longtime unionist from LRT.
The RILES Network also condemned the Aquino government for continuing to carry out the privatization of LRT-2, for which four groups – the Aboitiz Equity Ventures-SMRT Transport Solutions Consortium, DM Consunji Inc-Tokyo Metro Company Limited Consortium, LRM2 Consortium of Ayala Corporation and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), and San Miguel Corporation-Korail Consortium – have submitted their proposals.
Under the Aquino government, billions of public funds have been spent and allotted for the LRT and MRT maintenance, operations and expansion, even as the trains are more and more being privatized under what critics described as “lopsided contracts.”
RILES Network accused officials of the Aquino government involved in privatizing the MRT and LRT of hastening completion of privatization deals to gather kickbacks in time for 2016 national elections.