Volume VI, No. 1  Jan. 5 - 9, 2015

Quotes of the Week

"The reason why this fare increase is such a burden is because the service is not improving. We already allocated money for the MRT rehabilitation and improvement for 2015. There is enough funding. We don't need the money from the fare hike in order to improve MRT3.”

Senator Francis Escudero saying the upper chamber would have not approved the 2015 budget request of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) had it known that it would implement fare increases in the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT).

“This is not a popular decision insofar as the MRT-riding passengers are concerned, but we are doing this because this is the right thing to do.”

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda saying the decision to increase the fares of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 and Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2, may not be popular but it must be done.


Sec. Abaya no-show at train fare increase probe

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya was a no-show during the House of Representatives inquiry into the fare hikes of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Railway Transit (LRT) lines as lawmakers sought a detailed listing of where the proceeds will go. Sec. Abaya’s absence riled independent and opposition lawmakers, who said it only showed the Aquino administration’s insensitivity to the plight of commuters. Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, chairman of the committee, said the panel would summon Sec. Abaya to the next hearing, as he knows the details of the various agreements between the LRT and MRT and the government. Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. clarified that Sec. Abaya did not snub the House hearing but only had to attend the meeting in Malacañang on preparations for the visit of Pope Francis on Jan. 15 to 19. Sec. Coloma said the government was standing firm on the fare increases but was acknowledging those opposed to the decision.


MRT-LRT fare increase protest brought to SC

Two separate Supreme Court cases greeted the implementation of the fare increases in the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) on the first working day of the year. In separate petitions, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and former Iloilo congressman Augusto Syjuco asked the high court to issue a temporary restraining order or a status quo ante order stopping the fare adjustments. The petitioners also urged the SC to void a Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) order last month allowing the increases. The 2 petitioners shared the position that the fare hikes would only benefit the private firms operating the lines and that the move was a violation of the constitutional right to due process of millions of mass transit commuters. Members of militant groups on Sunday launched mass actions at some MRT and LRT stations to protest the fare hikes.