2 August 2010
Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno and progressive party-list Anakpawis aired their strong opposition to the looming fare hikes in MRT and LRT in a short program in the North Avenue station of the MRT today, saying the fare increase will benefit only big foreign banks and big local companies.
KMU and Anakpawis Partylist also distributed leaflets condemning the announced increase as they enjoined MRT commuters and passers-by to each sign “No” in big streamers containing their call.
The groups condemned what they called the “deceitful” propaganda of the Aquino government for the fare hike, using the so-called “users-pay”concept to divide Filipinos over the issue.
“The government entered into one-sided deals with banks and private corporations to construct and operate the MRT and LRT at the expense of the Filipino workers and people. That is the main cause why the people are now being made to shoulder the added burden of operating and maintaining the railway systems through a fare increase,” said Lito Ustarez, KMU executive vice-chairperson.
“The case isn’t simply that the government is losing taxpayers’ money because the cost of operating the train lines has increased. The commitments entered into by the government with banks and private companies are too burdensome for the Filipino workers and people.
“They are too burdensome, in fact, that fees have to be hiked even as both the MRT and LRT have gained the reputation of always being like a sardine can – teeming with passengers,” he added.
KMU and Anakpawis Partylist called for a review of the contracts between the government and the Metro Rail Transit Corporation, which constructed the MRT. They said the government ought to renegotiate the terms of payment for the construction of the train line.
“In his SONA, President Aquino promised ‘new and creative forms’ of generating public funds. Making the working people pay more is not new. Neither is it creative. He should take the initiative to renegotiate the terms of payment in the MRT and LRT contracts,” said Cherry Clemente, Anakpawis secretary-general.
“It’s not only the government who’s in dire straits financially right now. The working people of the country have been suffering from low income and soaring prices for so many years. The Aquino government should stop thinking that it can simply pass on the burden of the crisis to them,” Clemente added.
KMU executive vice-chairperson