MANILA — The Palace on Monday said that the decision to increase the fares of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 and Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2, may not be popular but it must be done.
“This is not a popular decision insofar as the MRT-riding passengers are concerned, but we are doing this because this is the right thing to do,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters during a press briefing in Malacañang.
Secretary Lacierda emphasized that the government has not completely cut its subsidy for the mass transport system but has merely reduced the subsidy from P12 billion last year to P10 billion this year.
“We did not take away the subsidy. The subsidy is still there,” he said.
He noted that President Benigno S. Aquino III has already explained that the subsidy for the MRT/LRT fares needs to be reduced so that the government could allocate its resources to regions that do not benefit from the MRT/LRT service.
“So, of the P2 billion that we can save, we are going to allocate the resources to other areas like Visayas and Mindanao,” said Lacierda.
He further pointed out that the increased MRT/LRT fares are still lower than air-conditioned or regular bus fares.
An air-conditioned bus traversing the Monumento-Taft Ave route via EDSA charges P42; an ordinary bus, P37; and an FX taxi, P40. The MRT meanwhile charges only P28 for the same route.
Lacierda assured the public that the government will continue to improve the services of the mass transport system.
“We can assure the MRT-riding passengers that rehabilitation is forthcoming. Rehabilitation has been planned this year. We are going to improve the services of the MRT,” he said.