February 6, 2011
We welcome the announcement made by LRTA administrator Rafael Rodriguez that they will not push through with the planned fare hike on March 1. The deferment was announced yesterday at the public consultations held at the LRTA depot in Santolan, Pasig.
The deferment is the result of the active participation and widespread campaign of different groups opposed to the fare hike. We thank the member organizations of BAYAN, Riles Network and other consumer groups for their vigilance and active opposition.
The LRTA says it needs at least a month to study the submissions made by the different oppositors. This means that the fare hike proposal is not dead yet. We urge commuters to remain vigilant and monitor the decisions of the LRTA board of directors, composed mainly of Aquino cabinet officials.
We maintain that the LRTA board has no mandate to approve fare increases since it is not a regulatory body. Should it proceed with the increase, it will face intense political and legal opposition.
We call on President Benigno Aquino III to once and for all withdraw the proposal for a fare hike by issuing an order to his cabinet secretaries who sit on the LRTA board. This problem can end if the president makes the decisive move of not pushing though with his original plan of raising fares.
We maintain that the fare hike is anti-commuter and anti-people as it merely seeks to pass on to the riding public billions of pesos worth of onerous debts coming from flawed contracts. The fare hike serves to attract potential foreign investors for the privatization of the train system.
Renato M. Reyes Jr.