January 20, 2011
Global alliance of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) Migrante International today joined overwhelming opposition to the impending increase in MRT and LRT fares, saying that the fee hikes will increase the daily operational expenses of their families by at least 20 percent.
“Ngayong bagong taon, sa halip na magdiwang, penitensya ang aabutin ng mga OFW at kanilang pamilya dahil sa sunud-sunod na pagtaas ng presyo ng pamasahe at iba pang mga bilihin,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.
For instance, Martinez said, for a Filipina domestic worker in Dubai supporting four (4) school-going children, the MRT and LRT fare hikes alone would result in an increase of at least 20 percent in her family’s daily micro-spending.
A domestic worker in Dubai earns an average wage of 700dirhams or Php7,875. From this, she makes a monthly remittance of P6,500 to cover her family’s expenses for house rental, bills, food and transportation of her school-going children:
Php3,000 – house rent
Php1,000 – bills and utilities
Php3,000 – food
Php1,680 – P14 daily fare of 4 children to school
With the 100% increase in MRT and LRT fare hikes, expenses for transportation of the 4 children would shoot up to Php3,600, leaving the already deficit remittance short by another Php2,000.
“Ang masaklap dito, sa pamasahe pa lang ito. Bago matapos ang taon tumaas na rin ang presyo ng bigas at asukal. Hindi pa rin naka-factor in ang tiyak na pagtaas ng iba pang bilihin dahil sa oil price hikes,” he said.
“At the end of the day, it is not the President or anyone else who will be making the ‘hard decisions’ but our workers, our OFWs and their families. This is the glaring reality. While Pres. Aquino seems to be appeasing big businesses through the fare hikes, mga kayod-kabayong OFW at kanilang pamilya naman ang kawawa,” Martinez said.
The migrant leader said that they will circulate the petition initiated by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan to OFWs, their families, and chapters abroad to express the sector’s opposition to the fare hikes.
“We will also join in the series of protests and launch possible protests abroad against the fare hikes,” he said.
Chairperson, Migrante International