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DOTC Sec Mar Roxas backs MRT fare hikes, increasing penalties, PPPs

Monday, August 29, 2011

DOTC Sec Mar Roxas backs MRT fare hikes, increasing penalties, PPPs


Mar Roxas’ proposed budget slashed by 38-percent the government subsidy on MRT for 2012—from P6.9 billion ($162.7 million) to P4.29-billion ($101.15 million), despite reports of annual increases in passenger load.
By MARYA SALAMAT
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Transportation secretary Mar Roxas is earning the ire of Filipino workers and people, said the progressive labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) in a statement, as Roxas defended the privatization of the MRT and LRT and, according to KMU, also justified the hiring of strike-breakers in PAL (Philippine Air Lines).

Privatizing the railways and subsidizing the profits of private contractors, like what is happening now, has been blamed by various peoples’ organizations as the reason behind the looming fare hikes in MRT and LRT.

“We don’t think this is the best way to prepare for the next elections,” warned Elmer “Bong” Labog, chairman of progressive labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), to Mar Roxas who is perceived as gearing up for the next presidential elections.

Begrudging subsidies for mass transport

In the budget deliberations in Congress, Roxas said that if the budget would be raised to increase the government’s subsidy per train passenger, then they (the DOTC) would not run out of funds for subsidies and so they would not have to consider “burden-sharing,” or increasing the MRT and LRT fares.


Roxas and other DOTC officials at the budget hearing in Congress.(Photo by Marya Salamat / bulatlat.com)
Roxas’ proposed budget slashed by 38-percent the government subsidy on MRT for 2012—from P6.9 billion ($162.7 million) to P4.29-billion ($101.15 million), despite reports of annual increases in passenger load. Asked by Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael Mariano if the cut meant there would be fare hikes, Roxas replied that they will not be sourcing all the resulting budget shortfall on fare hikes alone.

Roxas asked the Congress to “realign” the country’s tax-based spending because, he said, reminding the lawmakers that it was they who had pointed it out, “only the Metro Manila train riders have been enjoying a train ride that’s P55-subsidized per rider, when the rest of the country who are not in Metro Manila and not riding these trains have also been paying taxes.”

Roxas said it is the taxpayers in other regions who are “losing” in the railways’ operations and not the government. Such imbalance in using public money was not invoked, however, for the rest of the DOTC’s proposed P26.5-billion ($625million) projects in 2012 to build or upgrade airports, ports and lighthouses. Many of which would facilitate the operations of foreign investments in its covered districts, said some lawmakers who asked Roxas to fast-track or improve the said projects.

Roxas emphasized in the budget deliberation and in media interviews the need for “burden-sharing” between the government and the commuters in financing the operations of MRT and LRT.... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/08/28/dotc-sec-mar-roxas-backs-mrt-fare-hikes-increasing-penalties-ppps/

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