Senators slam ‘Judas’ govt

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STRIKE IT OUT Members of youth groups protesting the fare increase ride an LRT coach on Sunday. PHOTO BY RENE DILAN

STRIKE IT OUT
Members of youth groups protesting the fare increase ride an LRT coach on Sunday. PHOTO BY RENE DILAN

LAWMAKERS took up the cudgels for rail commuters on Sunday, calling the government a “traitor” for suddenly increasing fares in the Light Rail Transit 1, LRT 2 Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3) and urging the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to stop implementing the fare adjustment.

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The most scathing criticism came from Sen. Grace Poe, who compared the government to “Judas” for its sneaky implementation of the rate increase.

Poe, who heads the Senate public services sub-committee on transportation, said the government should have been more transparent on its plan to impose new train rates.

“For me, the timing of the fare increase is wrong and unjustifiable given the poor condition and services being provided by the management of the train systems. Para sa akin, napaka-Hudas ng ginawa nila [For me, what they did was a clear, Judas-like betrayal],” she added.

The senator wants the DOTC to explain why it did not inform the Senate of its plan to adjust rail rates when the agency was defending its budget for 2015 that includes the government subsidy for the train systems.

The 2015 General Appropriations Act (GAA) signed recently by President Benigno Aquino 3rd allotted P4.65 billion train subsidy, P7.94 billion for MRT 3 rehabilitation and P4.67 billion for unpaid MRT 3 taxes.

The train systems also received an additional P1.21 billion for MRT 3 rehabilitation and capacity extension and P728 million for the rehabilitation of LRT 1 and LRT 2 from the P22.4-billion supplemental budget.

Poe blasted the DOTC for its “deceitful” timing in implementing the new fare rates, coming at a time when the people have no recourse because of the long holiday break.

She said Congress could have allocated the P4.65 billion MRT/LRT subsidy to other priority programs of the government if the DOTC had informed them of its plan to increase fares.

Poe added that she sees no reason for the government to stop its subsidy, noting that Congress allocated enough funds in this year’s P2.606 trillion budget for other priority projects of the government including those for Visayas and Mindanao.

Malacañang had said retaining government subsidy for the three rail lines would not be fair to taxpayers in Visayas and Mindanao.

But Poe countered that Congress has been supporting projects in Visayas and Mindanao even if portions of funds for such projects come from the taxpayers of Luzon and Metro Manila.

“We have enough funds to support projects in other parts of the country and we should not stop the subsidy just because [the three railway lines are]only beneficial to the residents of Metro Manila,” she noted.

Sen. Francis Escudero agreed with Poe, saying the Senate will invite DOTC officials to explain their actions and discuss ways to stop implementation of the fare adjustment.

“We will ask the commitment of the DOTC to stop the fare increase because I don’t see any reason to justify the adjustments. Financially and practically, there is no basis, the worst part is that train commuters don’t expect to benefit from it also,” Escudero added.

He noted that the decision to increase rates was “very wrong” because no public hearing was conducted which would have given rail commuters the chance to oppose the plan to raise fares.

Several groups headed by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) will troop to the Supreme Court (SC) today to file a petition for certiorari in a bid to stop the DOTC from continuing to implement the fare adjustments.

Multisectoral and professional organizations RILES Network, TREN, government employees, health workers, students and labor groups will assert that the train lines are public utilities that are subject to regulation.

But Malacañang on Sunday ignored calls to halt the fare increases.

“Bahagi din po ng ating ipinapatupad na Philippine Development Plan for 2011 to 2016 ‘yung prinsipyo na ‘user pay.’ Dapat ‘yung gumagamit ng serbisyo ay magbabayad ng malaking bahagi ng kanilang biyahe at ito na nga po ang ipinupunto rin na ang tuwirang nakikinabang lamang sa serbisyong ito ay ‘yung mga naninirahan sa National Capital Region at hindi naman po ang buong populasyon ng ating bansa. Kaya ‘yon pong pagbabago sa singil sa MRT/LRT ay paglalagay lang po sa tamang kaayusan ng ating patakaran sa pagsingil at pagsasaayos ng resources na ginagamit para patuloy na mapahusay ang serbisyo para dito [The fare increases are part of the Philippine Development Plan for 2011 to 2016 under the principle of ‘user pay.’ Those who avail of the service should pay more and it should be pointed out that residents of the National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila), not the entire country, are benefiting from the train service. The fare increases are meant to improve the service],” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

Coloma added that the Palace respects the position of organizations who are against the fare adjustment. He, however, called on the public to remain calm and avoid violence in expressing their thoughts and views.

“Nananawagan po ang pamahalaan sa lahat ng lalahok sa isasagawang kilos protesta na isaalang-alang ang pangkalahatang kapakanan ng mga mamamayan sa kanilang pagtitipon at huwag sanang maging sagabal sa daloy ng trapiko, maging sa maayos na pagbibiyahe ng ating mga kababayan. Maximum tolerance ang paiiralin ng ating pulisya bilang pagtalima sa rules of conduct at pagkilala sa karapatang magsagawa ng lehitimong pagkilos [We call on protesters opposing the fare adjustments not to obstruct traffic as to inconvenience the people. The police will exercise maximum tolerance in dealing with the demonstrators],” he said.

Coloma added that the implementation of the fare hike was “a matter of political will” and aims to institute reforms and improvements in the aging railway systems.

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19 Comments

  1. The thieves in public office are making their moves. Indeed, their hand is full. This problem happens when people holding public offices have no empathy for the poor. A very selfish act condemnable at the very least. There is only one certain reason for this wrongful act: KICKBACKS. Why would they care anyway when they are enjoying the bounties of life in luxurious ways? To the guilty proponents of the increase and malicious manipulation of ways and means of doubling the source of fund on a single public endeavor, you are despicable. Poe is right in calling you traitors. You are robbing the majority of your own poor people through legal means. I am so ashamed of being a Filipino. Its robbery in broad daylight.

    Oh, I forgot, swindlers in gov’t clothing always have an excuse in doing something. Tell me, what is yours?

    Well, hear this: A day of reckoning will soon come unto you if not on this earth, then in the afterlife. When that day comes, only one sin is enough to make you burn in hell regardless of how much good things you have done – Your sin committed against the millions of poor Filipino people.

    We don’t need leaders of brilliant minds to lead our country. What we need are of good-hearts.

    Tsk, tsk, tsk…

  2. The increase in fare is a sign of wrong management. The people especially the working group make a budget for their daily expenses for the reason that most prime commodities are expensive. Some reduce their food intake, some families nowadays just ate twice a day as they have to save to pay for the regular bills, electricity, water, transportation, loanpay expenses as most common workers earnings is not enough. The management, the people behind the LRT., MRT don’t look on the condition of their customers (commuters) all are greedy looking only on their benefits. In any investments the managing officers and operators should first improved the conditions of service by promoting comforts, running conditions to assure prompt schedule, when improvements is completed and shows satisfaction of customers, they could ask customers approval for the increased. Sudden increased is comparable to a crime of murder. But the President always nod and smile to his fundraisers and that is the big problem.

  3. ang babaw ng paliwanag ni Coloma…ang mga taga probinsya pglumuwas ng maynilad nasakay din naman ng LRT/MRT.

  4. Before we jump on the ban wagon of Bayan and few politicians, let’s compare the cost of MRT in ASEAN, ME, America’s and other countries. I believe our MRT fare is the lowest and the government is subsidizing large amount of cost. The government for sure has done its home work and I hope increasing the fare would be passed through to improve the MRT/LRT facilities, equipment, personnel training, etc. for efficient operations. It’s about time to fast track all our infrastructures including approve PPP to encourage foreign investments, create jobs and improve living conditions of Filipinos. Increasing by 15 to 20 pesos does not put a dent on Juan’s pocket. Ordinary Filipinos like me understand the need to improve our infrastructures.
    I am frustrated to individuals or group who have no solution to offer but criticize the people who are initiating improvement to our infrastructures. If there are apprehensions on corruptions we now have efficient COA and people who are not afraid to report wrong doings. Let’s refrain calling names and lets be seen as responsible reporter.

  5. Gong gong Ang may pa kana NIYO paayos muna Ang Takbo saka taasan Ang presyo di walang aangal PNOY natutulog sa pansitan habang nilalapastangan Ang mga bossaboss. Bastos si Abaya at ABAD, salot ng bayan at Krus ni PNOY. Wala sa timing, minadali.

  6. jesus nazario on

    Does hopeless blind Coloma or any of his relatives ever ride the MRT in non-epal mode ?

  7. westphilippines on

    The timing and the manner they implement the increase is really inappropriate. It just shows the lack of competency on the part of Jun Abaya. He may be intelligent but definitely he lacks the competency as DOTC secretary. In fact, he miserably fails to meet the minimum or carry out the task worthy of a cabinet. I really question Mr. Abaya’s integrity for accepting a position he lacks a decent level of competency. It is alright if you are the son of owner of a private institution, organization or company to accept what is offered but not in public service or governance where competency is a value that one must possess!

  8. The justification for the fare hike that its only fair to those in visayas and Mindanao that users of the rails in NCR be solely burdened with the same is an over used reason as they say in Tagalog “gasgas na iyan” I have heard the same before in many occasions where government is unable to fund a needed infrastructure arguing that the dire ct users of the facility should pay for the costs of he project. This is absolute hogwash and it becomes doubly irritating to listen to coloma announce it in media with his “impeccable” vernacular.

  9. I expected it na yan. MRT, LRT, I award ng Pnoy sa kamag anak niy like her Mom!Note many basic needs ng majority ng Filipinos ay nasa Lopez na, (From Electricity, water, gas, gas pipes, power plants like the EXpENSIVE charges of WESTM?,NLEX TOLL, Telecom bayantel, Mining, properties, Halos MARAMI NA IBAT IBANG FOUNDATIONS FOUNDATIONS ay meron sila! (ME LIQUIDATION BA yearly kung saan napupunta ang pera ng donors? And others companies di natin alam even sa labas ng bansa!
    My old neighbor told me, ang nanay niya si Cory ay pinakawala yang yumaong Lopez na pinakulong ni Marcos at binili ni Marcos ang shares ng Meralco dahil sa garapal na singgil nun. Yung mga lolo natin will Attest mura ang mga basic goods for the sake of majority. Nung pinakawala, basta na lang daw ibinalik ke Lopez ang Meralco at now yan ang pahirap sa atin. NEXT, MAYNILAD, after awarding to Lopez group few years lang, biglang BUMULAGA din ang taas ng singgil nila. Ang NLEX, panahon ni Marcos, wala pa yatang p100 maximum na yun ang charge! Now with them, You know NOW HOW EVIL THEY ARE. Expect more price hike by them before Pnoy end terms in 2016! Pnoy next successor is also a KISS OF DEATH. Pahirap sa MASA, YUMAMAN LALO ANG MAYAMAN KASI. But it if wouldnt be nice if Duterte and Lacson be elected as our next leader?? TAMA NA, SOVRA NA. PALITAN NA!

  10. Shame on you PNOY! Your heartless government deserves the worst condemnation imaginable. The people had suffered already so much misery and you still have the nerve to rub salt to their deteriorating moral wounds? OH, MY GOD! Where is this corrupt, inept, and insensitive government heading?

  11. Roldan Guerrero on

    Judas betrayed Jesus for 30pcs of penny but this government through BSA betrayed the Filipino people in BILLIONS and PROBABLY TRILLIONS of Pesos !

  12. Sana hindi ito magumpisa ng revolution sa pinas. Sa ganyang maliit na baga naguumpisa ang malaking apoy. PI PI PI.

  13. The administration is just consistent, consistent in stepping on and abusing poor ordinary folks and stepping on the laws of the land for their selfish purposes.

  14. Understanding Person on

    Kung meron kayong understanding at pag-iisip, matagal ng Judas ang gobyerno natin!

  15. Wow, talagang kawawa ang taong bayan. Higher transportation cost will be such a big cut in their daily wage, considering that rice and other food items are already highly priced. Does Malacanang want to strangle the people already?

    Imagine, there was pala a budgetary allocation of P 4.65 billion subsidy for the MRT/LRT according to Sen. Grace Poe which cancelled out the necessity for a fare increase. She said Congress could have allocated the P4.65 billion MRT/LRT subsidy to other priority programs of the government if the DOTC had informed them of its plan to increase fares. She called the government act “panghuhudas”

    So nanloko na naman si Aquino to pocket the people’s money and use the money for electioneering. Everybody in government now is itching to raid the people’s money because national election is nearing and they know this is their last chance to plunder the national treasury.

    So what happens to the poor Juan de la Cruz. Does he simply look up to heaven and wait for the vultures to eat him up?