15 August 2010
Kilusang Mayo Uno called on the Aquino administration today to scrutinize first and publicize the contracts pertinent to the construction and operation of the MRT, before justifying the intended fare hike to the public.
“The decision to hike the MRT fare was reached without the public’s full knowledge of any substantial basis. The DOTC keeps on prattling about the huge debts and costs the government has already incurred for the MRT, as if it has already been proven that such figures are the real costs for constructing and operating the MRT,” KMU secretary-general Roger Soluta said.
“The firms contracted to build the MRT, and the banks that provided the loans for its conruction, have the same owners. How do we check for correct prices with this kind of monopoly?” Soluta said.
KMU cited research by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan which says that the Export-Import Bank of Japan, Sumitomo Bank, other Japanese, Czech and local big banks provided a loan of $462.5 million to build the MRT in 1998. The firms that constructed the civil works, track works, and electro-mechanical works of the MRT were also subsidiaries of Japanese Sumitomo Corporation, while the manufacturing and testing of the rail vehicles were done by Czech-based CKD Dopravini.
KMU also noted that the company paid for the maintenance of the MRT, TES Philippines, is also a subsidiary of Sumitomo bank, and is paid US$ 2 Million a month.
KMU noted further that Ayala Land Inc. and Fil-Estate, private firms with shares in the Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC), built malls, real-estate buildngs, and other projects that have profited because of their direct links to the MRT.
“Instead of calcuting how much added cost it will charge the riding public of the MRT, the government should better compute how much of our taxes have gone into the profiteering of big firms through the MRT.
“The government should not go after the public in order to ‘maintain the MRT in its present level,’ as the DOTC says, for the train system was and should forever be meant for the benefit of the public. They should go after the big corporations that have raked in so much money with the one-sided and onerous contracts for the MRT,” Soluta said.
KMU trooped again to MRT stations today to gather more signatures in the campaign to block the proposed fare increase.
KMU Secretary General