January 20, 2011
Youth group Anakbayan today assailed the series of fare and oil price hikes, saying it would push many students in Metro Manila into a ‘drop-out or starve dilemma.
The militant group of young workers, professionals, and students are protesting the recently-approved hikes of the MRT and LRT, which reach a maximum of 100%. On top of that, oil firms increased the pump prices of gasoline and diesel by P0.75 and P1.00 per liter, respectively. Jeepney groups have previously petitioned for a P1 hike in the minimum fare of jeeps.
“As transportation costs skyrocket, parents and working students are left with less and less money for tuition and other enrollment costs” said Anakbayan spokesperson Vencer Crisostomo.
He cited a recently-released study by Newsweek which found that people with P10,000 or less monthly incomes constituted 52.8% of all regular (defined as using the train lines at least five times a week) passengers of the MRT and LRT, Anakbayan calculated that the MRT-LRT fare hikes would lead to a monthly expenditure of P1,200 monthly, leaving only a maximum of P8,800 monthly for other expenses such as food.
The group also calculated that if the said person is sending one of their children to a university, in which the nationwide average tuition per semester is at P25,000, then it would mean the person would only have P27,800 for non-transportation and non-tuition expenses every six months or half-semester.
“Does the Aquino administration expect us to exist on P27,800 for six months? I suppose being behind the wheel of a Porsche removes your grasp of reality” said Crisostomo.
The youth leader said “Noynoy’s refusal to stop the fare and other price hikes essentially dooms millions of Filipino youths to choose between dropping out of school, or starving to death”.
Anakbayan, along with other youth groups and personalities under the Strike the Hike movement, has vowed to intensify protests, including a march to Mendiola on the first of February.
Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan spokesperson