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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Department of Transportation and Communication’s Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya issued Department Order No 2014-014 setting the new fares for the three mass train system in Metro Manila; MRT3, LRT-1 and LRT-2. “It’s a tough decision, but it had to be made. It’s been several years since an increase was proposed. We delayed its implementation one last time until after the Christmas season. While 2015 will see increased fares, it will also see marked improvements in our LRT and MRT services,” he said.

Moreover, the fare-hike for three mass train system, resulted different sentiments to all sectors which angered them all. These sentiments ballooned to more disappointments from train commuters who suffered most. The thing that the DOTC Secretary had done was “no show” to explain on his side.

The whining of Senator Grace Poe: Wondered why the DOTC imposed the increase after its 2015 budget, including allocations for the rehabilitation of the MRT and LRT, was approved, and without giving the public due notice. She also wondered why the DOTC did not inform lawmakers about the fare increase when it asked for subsidy in the supplemental budget. That early, we could have removed this, and put it in the programs of the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and DepEd (Department of Education),’’ she said.

More organizations were very vocal against the train fare hike like BAYAN MUNA Representative Neri Colmenares, BUHAY Representative Lito Atienza, and AKO BICOL Representative Rodel Batocabe. And even Senator Escudero observed that the government did not hold public hearings before announcing the increase. There was no public hearing whatsoever, unlike in raising jeepney, bus, or taxi rates. The DOTC simply said the increase was overdue for years, without detailing why it should be 50 percent and not just, say, 5 percent, or even as high as 500 percent, as computed by railway experts.

Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya surprised all concerned leaders, media people, news companies and citizens of the Philippines, that for the past months, he was very much alive with his planned strategies on how to tackled MRT3 problems and continued to move forward with his leadership for the good of the commuters. While at the same time, never had a wink of giving MRT Holdings its proposition for business unification. Even the Senate cannot twisted his firmed ways to solve this gigantic problem of the MRT3 drama that buyout was the only option.

What more could we do with the Secretary right now when he’s very busy for Papal visit? Remember, he’s a transportation secretary, not only in mass train system under his concern but also the whole transportation industry in the Philippines.

The DOTC Secretary, together with the government of Pnoy Administration believed the political will to survive even when worst comes to worst for the Philippine governance?


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