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Scientists join clamor for train fare rollback

03:26 AM January 21, 2015

In support of the petition filed by Bayan and Bayan Muna party list, asking the Supreme Court to nullify the order of the Department of Transportation and Communications to increase MRT and LRT fares by up to 87 percent, we join the riding public’s clamor for the immediate repeal of the order.

Instead of providing an efficient and affordable mass transport system gravely needed by more than a million daily commuters, the government now wants to wring out more profits from the already impoverished workers, students and all riders of the metro train network.

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The DOTC has no authority to issue a fare hike order as it did not hold proper public consultations, which are a necessary process when it comes to rate hikes in public services.

This fare hike is also unnecessary. Not only was the DOTC given by Congress the allocation they requested, the MRT and LRT lines have been shown to earn more than operation and maintenance costs. Why is the government giving away a profitable venture that is at the same time providing invaluable service to millions of people?

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In 2014, the DOTC was among the top 10 agencies with the highest budget. The P48.8-billion 2014 budget was already a 31.6-percent increase from the 2013 budget. In the 2014 supplemental budget, P1.9276 billion has been allocated for the rehab of the transit lines. In the 2015 budget, P12.05 billion has been allocated for MRT rehab and subsidy.

The DOTC had been given a large chunk of the national budget presumably to at least improve the condition of our rail system. The people cannot see any improvement. Where have these funds gone?

The Aquino administration must be held accountable for these funds which were meant to provide a cheap, accessible and efficient mode of mass transport for the people. An efficient mass transport system is a public service designed to aid production and make the lives of the people easier and, as such, should not be treated as a profit-generating business and privilege to a few.—JM AYUSTE, Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (Agham), 127-B Scout Fuentebella St. corner Sacred Heart, Kamuning, Quezon City

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TAGS: fare hikes, fare rollback, LRT, Metro Manila, MRT, scientists
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