MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday stood firm on the fare adjustment in the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) systems, saying the decision may not be popular but it is right.
“Pero ulitin ko ano iyong desisyon hindi naman popularidad,” the President said in media interview following his attendance to the inspection and inauguration of infrastructure projects in Romblon.
This, even as militant, labor and commuter groups have filed petitions before the Supreme Court (SC) seeking to stop the implementation of the MRT and LRT fare increase.
President Aquino said the fare hikes are aimed at reducing the Php12 billion in annual subsidies just for train operations by Php2 billion. The subsidies are sourced from taxes collected all over the country.
“Assume natin na all the 14 million daytime residents of Manila, ‘yung NCR (National Capital Region) Metro Manila, ginagamit ‘yang MRT at LRT and that’s a very big assumption. So there are 14 million people being benefited and 86 million helping pay the bill,” he said.
The Chief Executive added that the fare increase, along with the Senate-approved subsidy, will be used for the improvement of services of the MRT and LRT systems.
“May kailangang magbayad. So talaga namang makatwiran naman ‘yung ‘ikaw ang nakikinabang baka naman pwedeng dagdagan mo ang bayad mo.’ Sa increase hindi pa rin mapupuno ‘yung Php60 (subsidy) ha ng MRT, may subsidy pa ring kailangan,” he said.
President Aquino further defended the adjustment, noting that the light rail systems provide better services than the air-conditioned buses that are currently charging higher fares.
“So ang tanong: ‘Yung bus ba mas maayos sa traffic kaysa ‘yung MRT at LRT?’ Siyempre mas maganda ‘yung serbisyo ng MRT kaysa doon sa air-conditioned bus. So nagbabayad ka ng mas mahal doon sa bus pero mas maganda ang serbisyo supposed to be nitong MRT mas tuluy-tuloy,” he said.