MANILA (Mabuhay) – Three senators on Monday voiced their opposition against the fare increase in the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2 and Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT3), with at least two expressing support to the Supreme Court petitions to stop the fare hike.
“Yes, I am against the increase as well,” Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said in a text message when asked if he would support plans by some groups to raise the matter before the high court.
“There was no mention in the budget hearings of such an increase and they have sufficient budget cover for the improvement of MRT3. Besides, they should first improve the system and prevent all commuter problems before even starting to think of an increase,” Escudero, chairman of the Senate finance committee, said.
“Additionally, I don’t think they can tack this increase on hearings held way back in 2001 which therefore gives rise to questions involving the absence or lack of due process,” Escudero said.
Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, an opposition member, also gave his support to petitions against the LRT, MRT fare hike.
“Yes, I do if it’s the only recourse left,” Sotto said in a text message.
Another opposition member, Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, also protested the fare hike, saying it was ill-timed since it was implemented at the start of the year and as the country is preparing for the upcoming Feast of the Black Nazarene this week and visit of Pope Francis next week.
“Walang puso ang bawat piso na dagdag-pasahe sa MRT at LRT na itinaon sa gitna ng malaparusang serbisyo na dinaranas ng mga pasahero nito tulad ng napakahabang pila, kawalan ng gumaganang elevator at escalator, at tumitigil o nadidiskaril na tren,” Ejercito said in a statement.
“Napakasama din ng timing nito na itinaon sa pagpasok ng bagong taon, sa magaganap na pista ng Nazareno, at sa nalalapit na pagdating ni Pope Francis sa bansa,” he said.
Ejercito said the increase would not have been questionable if the MRT and LRT services were as good as the services of trains in Singapore and Hong Kong, which are being enjoyed by Filipino workers there. (MNS)