Nagtipon ang iba’t ibang organisasyon upang salubungin ang paglabas ng Santo Papa sa Palasyo ng Malakanyang.
Kinilala nila si Francis bilang Papa ng mga dukha at para sa kalikasan at kapayapaan.
Hiniling nilang manindigan ang Santo Papa sa katulad nilang dukha at inaapi.
January 16, 2015
Progressive groups welcome Pope Francis to the Philippines
Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila
January 15, 2015
Train Riders Network (TREN), an alliance of workers, young professionals and other train riders today reiterated their call for the Supreme Court to pass a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the implemented MRT-LRT fare hikes. They held a picket protest in front of the Department of Transportation and Communications after holding an information dissemination activity at the North Avenue MRT Station in Quezon City earlier.
January 12, 2015
Says DOTC made 3 fatal admissions vs MRT/LRT fare hike
At the first hearing of the Congress Transportation Committee on the Light Rail Transit 1 and 2 (LRT 1 and 2) as well as the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT3) fare hikes Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said that Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Undersecretary (Usec.) Jose Lotilla made at least three (3) fatal admissions against the MRT/LRT fare hikes.
“No.1 is that Usec. Lotilla admitted that the DOTC does not have the authority to increase fares, so the fare hike is illegal. No.2 he also admitted that the MRT/LRT makes profit and that the fare hike would go to the concessionaire. No.3 Usec. Lotilla also said that under the concession agreement for the LRT1 extension, this would just be the first fare increase and that there would be fares hikes every two years,” said Senior Deputy Minority Leader Colmenares.
“There is treachery and deception on Malacanang’s part because they have not been forthright about these issues and are still doing all they can to justify the fare increase. It is also deplorable that DOTC Sec. Joseph Abaya did not even show up at the hearing but is all over media defending the fare hike,” added the progressive solon.
“As it is I already moved for the Transportation committee to recommend the deferment of the fare hike pending the decision of the Supreme Court for the TRO. We will do all we can to stop these hikes because this is just the start of fare hikes especially LRT1,” said Rep. Colmenares.
Based on a study of IBON Foundation, the LRT 1 is the biggest project auctioned so far by the Aquino administration under its PPP program at P65 billion. It is also one of the most controversial because the Aquino government has given greater guarantees and perks than the ‘sweetheart deals’ done by previous administrations, the grave effects of which the public is still paying or to this day.
Quoting again from the IBON study Rep. Colmenares said that; “among the guarantees and perks that MPIC-Ayala group now enjoy are 1.) the government will actually be paying some P34.9 billion or more than the half the of the total project cost of P64.9 billion for right of way acquisition, purchase of coaches, civil works, etc. This means that Light Rail Manila Consortiums rail business in effect benefits from the lower borrowing costs of government including from official development assistance (ODA). There is also an additional P5 billion subsidy of ‘viability gap funding’. Moreover, the concession agreement allows Light Rail Manila to pay the premium in tranches- 10% up front and the rest in a quarterly basis after five years,”
“2.) They are also assured of fare hikes, with their concept of notional fare composed of the boarding fare which is charged to commuters per trip and a distance fare which is charged according to distance travelled from the boarding station to the exiting station. The concession agreement (CA) states that by August 1, 2014 the private concessionaire is granted an initial notional fare that is actually a fare hike, which what they are demanding now. The initial notional fare is a boarding fee of P12.13 plus a distance fare of P1.10 per kilometre. This provision will result in an increase of fares up to 101.7% per trip depending on the route,” he added.
“3.) The CA also allows Light Rail Manila to have periodic adjustments in the notional fare starting August 1, 2016. The consortium is allowed to increase by 10.15% every adjustment period (every two years). Also upon completion of the extension line to Niyog station in Bacoor, which is estimated to take three years, the notional fare at that time can be hiked by five percent. On top of this, the CA also allows to adjust notional fares automatically according to inflation rates (inflation-rebasing) every four years starting from 2018 onwards. Aside from these there are other additional increases: 1.) another 5% hike upon completion of construction of the extension; 2.) a programmed periodic adjustment of some 10% every two years; and 3.) pass-on of power cost fluctuations up to 5% of the notional fare,” said the progressive solon.
“4.) The CA also contains a mechanism assuring Light Rail Manila that it will be able to collect the notional fare if the approved fare is lower. Which means the government will pay a ‘deficit payment’ to cover the gap. This is a regulatory risk guarantee and the consortium never had it this good but at the expense of commuters. Seeing the extent of the perks the MPIC-Ayala group are enjoying it is incumbent upon us to exhaust all means so that commuters would not be at the losing end of this more than a sweetheart deal,” ended Rep. Colmenares.. ###
Bayan calls on commuters and taxpayers to resolutely oppose the recent fare increases for the MRT3, and the LRT 1 and 2 train lines. These added burdens, treacherously announced and implemented during the holidays, are without legal basis and are patently anti-commuter. These increases merely serve the profit interests of the private companies with stakes in the train system while justifying government’s abandonment of its responsibility to provide affordable and efficient mass transportation for the people.
Aquino’s Great Train Robbery will victimize the 1.3 million daily commuters of the MRT and LRT, taking from their pockets P2.1 billion.
The argument that the fare hikes for LRT 1 and 2 and MRT 3 are justified because it will go to the much-needed improvements for the train system is erroneous, research group IBON reiterated. It added that this claim is meant to appease growing opposition over the unreasonable and unjust fare hikes.
No less than the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) admitted that the MRT fare hike would go not to the much-needed improvements of the infrastructure, amid glitches and breakdowns, but to serve government’s questionable financial obligations to the MRT Corporation (MRTC).
The DOTC announced the fare increases over the holiday break, which has sparked public outrage. IBON has stressed that the current fares are enough to cover the operation and maintenance (O&M) costs of the light rail transport systems.
According to the group, low fares are not the reason behind bloated government expenses for the LRT/MRT. In the case of MRT, the costs swelled because of the onerous financial obligations of government arising from its build-lease-transfer (BLT) contract with the privately owned MRTC. Under the BLT, government agreed to pay for the guaranteed annual 15% return on investment (ROI) of the MRTC in the form of equity rental payments (ERP), as well as the settlement of MRTC’s tax liabilities.
Based on latest available data, these financial obligations under the BLT comprise about 81% of total MRT 3 expenses, while only 19% go to O&M. It should be noted that half of the projected Php2-billion ‘savings’ that government expects to generate from the fare hikes will come from the MRT.
For LRT 1 and 2, bulk of the expenses goes to their debt servicing with more than 47%, based on latest available data. Government, through the taxpayers’ money, shoulders these expenses since the LRT system is a public investment.
But what makes the fare hike more unjust, particularly in the case of LRT 1 that has been recently privatized, is that the people will bear an increasing share of the debt-servicing burden even as the system generates private profits for the consortium of the MVP-Ayala group and their foreign partners. The consortium won the LRT 1 public-private partnership or PPP project last year.
According to IBON, it is clear that there is no need for a fare hike if government will fulfill its mandate of providing a reliable and affordable mass transportation system. The group stressed that mass transportation should be measured not in terms of commercial viability but on its contribution to citizens and the economy. (end)
(IBON Media Release/Photos by Reggie Mamangun)
There are even double entries for MRT/LRT rehab on 2015 and supplemental budgets
Reacting to the planned Metro Rail Transit/ Light Rail Transit (MRT/LRT) fare hike announced by Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) secretary Joseph Abaya, Bayan Muna party list representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate urged the DOTC to stop the rate increase insisting that there are other options to improve the services of the mass rail systems without burdening commuters.
“It seems that the Aquino administration is really hell-bent on increasing the fares of the MRT and LRT, they have been proposing this added burden since 2011 and we will continue to oppose it. Mass transits are a public service and should be the responsibility of government and not a burden to the people,” said Rep. Colmenares.
“Sec. Abaya’s justification for hiking MRT 3 fares defeats the purpose of constructing mass transit systems which is to provide the public with cheap transportation services,” said Rep. Zarate.
“The 2015 and the supplemental budget provided for MRT and LRT of at least P11.109 billion, consisting of LRT1 North Extension (Common Station)-P 769,809,000.00, the LRT2 West Extension- P200,000,000, the MRT3 Rehabilitation and Capacity Expansion-P2,569,200,000, the Repair/ Rehabilitation of LRT Lines 1and 2-P977,690,000, MRT 3Rehabilitation and Capacity Expansion (Supplemental Budget)-P957,163,000, LRT 1 and 2 Rehabilitation (Supplemental Budget)-P977,690,000 and the Mass Transport Subsidy-P4,657,504,000. Now, where will all these money go including the double entries for the LRT 1 and 2 rehabilitation if the fare hike is implemented? ”asked Rep. Colmenares.
“While the Aquino government has no qualms in imposing rate increases to save P2 Billion, they can afford to splurge P54.9 billion for a useless endeavour to buy out the MRT which they lost because of a highly questionable sweetheart deal. Why don’t we use the P54.9 Billion to further upgrade the MRT-LRT service instead. Pag tubo palaging pinapaburan ang mga private corporations pero pag dagdag na bayarin taong bayan ang sisingilin. This is insensitivity to the public’s plight and is really unacceptable,” ended Rep. Colmenares.
Bayan Muna filed House Resolution 111 to investigate the proposed MRT/LRT fare hikes. # # #
December 22, 2014
Reference: Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Javier Colmenares, 09178350459
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate, 09177174014