MRT-LRT fare hike will eat up P22 COLA

12 May 2011

MANILA — Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno again slammed the Aquino government for granting a mere P22 COLA for minimum wage earners in Metro Manila and approving the proposed fare hike in the MRT and LRT train systems, saying the COLA increase will just be eaten up by the fare hikes.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) announced last May 9 that the proposed fare hikes in the MRT and LRT have already been approved – only to say shortly afterwards that the implementation of the fare hikes will be deferred.

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“The Aquino government is really stoking the discontent and anger of the Filipino workers and people in announcing the approval of a meager P22 COLA for NCR minimum wage earners and the approval of fare hikes in the MRT and LRT on the same day,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

“The Aquino government is trying to fool the people when it says that it is sensitive to the plight of the Filipino workers and people in delaying the implementation of the MRT-LRT fare hike and in opening up deliberations for a wage hike. In truth, the MRT-LRT fare hike would just cancel out the meager P22 COLA,” Soluta added.

The train fare hike would increase the two-way MRT ride from North to Taft Avenue by P30.00. For workers who travel this far, the P22 COLA even falls short by P8.00.

“We have made it clear in the public hearings held by the Department of Transportation and Communication that the train fare hike would mostly affect low-income and vulnerable groups but the government, clearly, is not listening. A government study shows that 68.1 percent of MRT-LRT users during weekdays are minimum wage earners and a significant 15.3 percent earn nothing at all,” Soluta said.

“We are outraged over this plan to drive out low-wage workers and people with no income from the MRT and LRT. We are outraged over this plan that does not at all show any compassion for the poorest among the Filipino workers and people,” he added.

With the MRT-LRT fare hike cancelling out the P20 COLA, KMU said workers are all the more convinced that only a legislated significant wage hike will bring immediate relief to them.

“We have made it clear that workers want and need a legislated significant wage hike, but what the Aquino government is giving us mere loose change – and measures that will take back those loose change fast,” Soluta added.

“We have all the reasons to be outraged by this anti-worker and anti-people government, which is pleasing only to profit-greedy big capitalists,” Soluta concluded.#

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