Commuter group Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (RILES Network) slammed Department of Transportation and Communication Secretary Jun Abaya for pushing the hikes in the MRT and LRT anew saying there is no reason to increase fares as the actual costs of a single ride is only at P9.50.
“It is disgusting that the government still pushes to increase fares to cut costs on public transportation while pocketing trillions of our taxes through the presidential pork barrel” Sammy Malunes, RILES Spokesperson said.
“The actual cost of a single ride ticket, inclusive of its operations and maintenance, is only P9.50. Anything that exceeds that is clean profits for the private big businesses. The truth is, the government does not subsidize the MRT and LRT’s operation but only the guaranteed profits of private corporations under onerous contracts” he added.
Instead of increasing fares, the commuter group demanded that the onerous contracts with the MRT Corporation and private maintenance contractors be junked.
“These grossly expensive and one sided contracts being shouldered by the riding public should be scrapped. Instead of increasing fares, the government should take over the operation of the MRT and LRT and assure the public of a safe, efficient and affordable transport system. That is their duty” Malunes said.
“Taking over the train system would be less costly and could even create more jobs for the millions of unemployed Filipinos. The interests of the public must always prevail over private profits and Aquino’s patronage politics” he added.
RILES cited that the P1.3 trillion presidential pork barrel is enough to construct, operate and maintain 77 Metro Rail Transit (MRT) lines equivalent to 1,301 kilometers of elevated train line that could connect Manila to Mindanao.
“How could this government say to Filipinos that they could no longer afford to subsidize the MRT when Aquino’s own pork itself is enough to build, operate and maintain an elevated train line that could extend from Manila to Davao?” Malunes said.
The total project costs of the 16.9 kilometer MRT line in EDSA is P16.81 billion. DavaoCity is 946 kilometers away from Manila by land.
The group meanwhile warned that increasing fares amidst widespread public outrage over the pork barrel scandal could spark wider anti-Aquino sentiments from all concerned sectors. This according to Malunes would lead to protests wanting Aquino’s ouster.
“Aquino wants is to further burden the public. He wants us to pay more while already extorting taxes from us only to give away to private big businesses and corrupt government officials” Malunes said.
“With these anti-people stand, Aquino is attracting a wider public sentiment against his government which could lead to bigger and persistent protests wanting him out” he added. Sammy T. Malunes, Convenor and Spokesperson, RILES Network