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Hikes in Toll Fees, Mass Transit Fares A Consequence of Public-Private Partnerships

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hikes in Toll Fees, Mass Transit Fares A Consequence of Public-Private Partnerships

Published on October 30, 2010
President Benigno Aquino III boldly declared during his first State of the Nation Address that public-private partnerships would be the solution to the government’s lack of funds and the need to develop the country’s infrastructure. But at whose expense?
MANILA – When the Supreme Court lifted last week its restraining order on the toll fee hikes in SLEx, Skyway and NLEx, critics cried foul and said the high court has also defended private profit against the people’s interest. The 72-page Supreme Court decision argued for the “right to reasonable profit” of private developers contracted by the government to build and operate what should have been government-controlled services, according to critics.

“The roads form part of a government’s public service,” said Modesto Floranda, president of the national capital region chapter of Piston, a progressive drivers’ and operators’ association in the Philippines. “It should be the government who has control of the country’s roads. Why hand it over to private capitalists whose only motivation is to profit from their investments?”

In his first State of the Nation Address last July, President Benigno Aquino extolled the public-private enterprises as his government’s way of providing for the country’s needed infrastructure development. He boasted that with it, the government which is supposed to be short on funds would not have to shell out money to build what needs to be built.

But today’s back-to-back threats of increased fees for use of toll roads and fare for the mass transit system— spooking Filipinos just a couple of weeks after Aquino’s first hundred days in office— are exposing the seamy side of public-private enterprises. “We have improved roads, yes. But we drivers cannot feed our family,” said George San Mateo, secretary general of Piston. The transport group estimates that the P200 to P300 (or $4.66 to $6.99) daily earnings of jeepney drivers plying the SLEx route in Alabang alone would be wholly eaten up by the proposed toll fee increases. San Mateo said they face break-even at best, deficits at worst..... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/10/30/a-consequence-of-public-private-partnerships/


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