Stop MRT-LRT fare hike, SC asked
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Progressive groups and private individuals on Monday, January 5, asked the Supreme Court to block the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) fare hike that was implemented on Sunday, January 4.
Petitioners want the High Court to immediately issue a temporary restraining order against Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio "Jun" Abaya for the increase, which they said was "abritrary, unjustified, excessive, irregular and invalid."
In a 58-page document, the petitioners slammed the timing of the fare hike. (CONVERSATION: Is the MRT/LRT #farehike fair?)
"It thus came as a surprise that during the holiday break, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya issued a Department Order implementing the assailed fare increase. The announcement came when most of Metro Manila‘s residents were preparing for the holidays, with many going home to the provinces," it said.
"The announcement came when the courts were on break. Indeed, the announcement and implementation of the fare hike was timed so that opposition would be at a minimum," the petition added.
The DOTC resolution increased the base fire hike to P11.00 ($0.25), with P1.00 ($0.0223) per kilometer for the LRT 1 and 2, and MRT3.
This will raise the maximum single journey fare in LRT-1 to P30 and LRT-2 to P25. Meanwhile, MRT fares will range from P15 to P28.
There's no stopping the DOTC from implementing the fare hike despite the complaint, DOTC spokesperson Migs Sagcal told reporters Monday.
"We will argue our case before the SC and we are confident that our actions are fully in accord with the law. We respect the freedom of those groups to express themselves and file appropriate cases, but these will not stop us from our modernization and improvement programs for the LRT and MRT systems," Sagcal said.
Petitioners include leftist groups, former government officials, and private individuals, such as:
- Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), represented by its secretary general, Renato Reyes Jr.
- Activist and former lawmaker Teodoro Casiño, Former LRTA administrator Melquiades A. Robles
- Kilusang Mayo Uno chair Elmer C. Labog
- RILES Network spokesman Sammy T. Malunes,
- COURAGE chair Ferdinand R. Gaite
- Anakbayan chair Vencer Crisostomo
- Alliance of Health Workers president Jossel I. Ebesate
- KADAMAY chair Gloria G. Arellano
- Businessman Herman Tiu Laurel
- Myrleon E. Peralta
- SSS union president Amorsolo L. Competente
- Commuter advocate Elvira Y. Medina, commuters Maria Donna Grey Miranda and Angelo Villanueva Suarez of TREN
- Labor leaders Atty. Jose Sonny G. Matula of the FFW an David L. Diwa of NLU
- Journalist James Bernard E. Relativo of TREN
- Giovanni A. Tapang of AGHAM
Read the petition below: