“Stand with us,” People’s Organizations Implore “People’s Pope”

On the last day of Pope Francis’ pastoral visit to the Philippines people’s organizations joined millions of Filipinos at the University of Santo Tomas and Rizal Park to ask for his continued solidarity in their fight for social justice. The organizations expressed joy at the Pontiff’s stand against corruption and “glaring…scandalous social inequality,” as well as justice for the poor.

Workers, peasants, women, urban poor, indigenous peoples, migrant Filipinos, transport workers, and many others marched from Liwasang Bonifacio to Rizal Park with images of saints, displayed placards and distributed leaflets to highlight what they believe are the Pope’s pro-people messages.

January 18, 2015

Maralita, hinarang ng mga pulis: Papa hindi nakita

Malacanang, Manila

Salubong para sa Santo Papa

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.

Mendiola, Manila
January 16, 2015

LARAWAN: People’s Welcome

People’s Welcome
Morayta to Mendiola, Manila
January 16, 2015

LARAWAN: Progressive groups welcome Pope Francis to the Philippines

Progressive groups welcome Pope Francis to the Philippines
Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila
January 15, 2015

Groups press demand on fare rollback

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.. ###

MRT-LRT Fare Hike: Aquino’s Great Train Robbery

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)

LARAWAN: Pinangunahan ng mga magsasaka at kanilang pamilya ang pagdalo sa ika-46 taong anibersaryo ng PKP sa kabila ng malakas na ulan at pagpigil ng mga sundalo ng gobyerno