By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | December 29, 2014
MANILA, Philippines - Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares criticized yesterday the “deviousness” of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) in imposing the fare increase of commuter train systems Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines 1 and 2, and Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) starting Jan. 4.
Colmenares said the House of Representatives in the past months has been conducting public hearings on various issues affecting the LRT, the MRT, and the DOTC yet the agency did not see fit to inform them of the impending fare hikes.
“I call it deviousness because they (DOTC officials) knew that they were planning to increase fares and then suddenly last Dec. 20 they announced it’s going to happen, knowing that the fare hike will take effect on a Sunday – when the courts are closed, Congress is closed, and nobody can stop them, and the remedies for the people are absent,” Colmenares told dzBB.
The lawmaker said he and other colleagues in the House will file a petition with the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the fare hikes.
He said the petition would include a prayer for permanent injunction.
He also said it was clear the DOTC did not follow due process, as the agency did not hold recent and complete public hearings, and its justifications were misleading.
He added there is also the issue of a possible refund in the event the SC issues a TRO after several days or weeks since the DOTC has implemented the fare hike.
Once the fare adjustment is implemented, a ride on LRT-1, from Baclaran to Roosevelt, will cost P29, while a one-way trip on LRT-2, from Santolan to Recto, will be at P24, the DOTC said.
Currently, a ride on the LRT lines 1 and 2 costs P12 to P15, and P20, respectively.
Meanwhile, a trip on MRT-3, between North Avenue and Taft Avenue, will cost P28 from the previous P10 to P15.
Colmenares said he was also surprised with the admission of Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya that part of the proceeds from the fare increase will not go to the maintenance and rehabilitation of MRT-3.