Take a selfie, say no to MRT, LRT fare hike

Nile Villa
Selfie as a new form of protest?

SELFIE PROTEST. Online campaign against the MRT & LRT price hikes

MANILA, Philippines – Selfie as a new form of protest?

An online protest against the MRT & LRT price hikes is creating buzz online. Strike The Hike, an anti-price hike and privatization multi-sectoral movement started #SelfieProtest on August 10. 

The militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan–National Capital Region (BAYAN-NCR) is among the convenors of the campaign. It encourages netizens to submit selfie photos, much like MovePH’s campaign #SelfieOfTheNation, to make their stand known through the cunning—and quite entertaining—use of selfies. By Wednesday afternoon, August 14, the campaign had received over 150 photos. 

Whether on a piece of paper held by hand or funky words embedded onto the shot, “No to MRT/LRT fare hike” is the online protesters’ message. 

‘Unfair’ fares

Mark Louie Aquino, #StriketheHike spokesperson, said the group believes that price increases and social services cutbacks are a result of privatization. He also rejects President Benigno Aquino III’s take on the planned fare hike.

“Each and every Filipino pays a share of the subsidy – whether you live in Mindanao or Visayas and not once have you ever stepped onto the LRT or MRT, you help fund this,” the President has said.

Mahirap paniwalaan yung mga ganoong palusot. Kitang kita naman natin na meron silang million-million, trillion-trillion na pork barrel tapos sasabihin nila sa mga tao na kayo mag-sacrifice. Hindi naman ata pwede yun,” #StrikeTheHike spokesperson Mark Aquino said. (It’s hard to accept that excuse. We know that they have millions, trillions in pork barrel and they tell people to sacrifice. That’s not fair.)

The P10 price hike is a huge blow to workers and students who take public transport, he added.

Serious selfies?

Aquino admitted some people question the selfie approach. “We just took advantage of the popularity of the selfie. The cause itself is serious,” he said.

The group’s initiatives are not limited to online campaigns. Offline, those against the planned fare hike are also encouraged to bring the protest to the streets “in their own way.”

A protest on August 22, the day of the transportation and communication department’s public consultation on the fare hike, is also in the works. Protests will also continue beyond the consultation date.

Want to join? The instructions posted on their Facebook page read as follows: 

STEP 1: Just strike your best selfie pose with your anti-MRT/LRT fare hike signs. 

STEP 2: Take your photo, post it online and tag #StrikeTheHike on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or send an email to strikethehike@gmail.com.

STEP 3: PROTEST against MRT & LRT fare increases.

Will you participate in this campaign against the rising cost of daily transport? Let us know in the comments below. -with reports from Bea Cupin/Rappler.com