Candidates dared to back MRT-LRT-PNR govt takeover

Oct. 17, 2015

DAVAO CITY – A commuters’ group called on candidates to support calls for easing Metro Manila’s traffic situation by backing a government takeover of Metro Rail Transit-Light Rail Transit and Philippine National Railways, saying the move is the solution to improve the railway system in the country.

Samuel Malunes, spokesperson of Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (RILES) Network, said their group needs to see presidentiables, senatoriables and other candidates “engaging with real issues”.

“The transportation problem has important implications for economic development. Will the candidates provide a service for the people? Or will they use Public-Private Partnerships to fill the pockets of rich private concessionaires? We need to know where candidates stand,” said Malunes.

In a statement, Riles said commuters will experience further fare hikes due to Aquino’s disastrous Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program as elections approach.

The group also said after the projected increase in 2016 “a round-trip on LRT 1 between Roosevelt and Buendia will amount to P65 or 14% of a daily minimum wage.”

“And no new MRT or LRT trains have been added to ease the massive queues,” Malunes said. “Commuters have to waste much of their workday in line while paying higher fares.”

Malunes said candidates’ support for government takeover is important “because the current poor planning of transportation system expansion has consequences beyond those affecting the commuters.”

In a recent “Bird Talk,” the Ibon Foundation reports that “around 2,000 families will also be displaced by the LRT 1 Extension and Operations and Maintenance project and 10,000 urban poor families aside from farming families will be displaced by the MRT 7 project in Bulacan, Caloocan, and Quezon City.”

“We need to know that the candidates take people’s needs seriously. These aspiring public officials must serve the public,” he said. (

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