Visayan solons back P10 MRT fare hike
MANILA, Philippines - Rural areas stand to gain from the government's move to reduce subsidies for the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3) and impose a P10 fare hike in 2013, Visayan solons said Thursday, October 25.
Western Samar Rep Mel Senen Sarmiento said that savings from the subsidy cut of P35 from P45 could be re-aligned for projects outside Metro Manila, adding that although he understands the plight of Metro commuters, it would be unfair for those living in underdeveloped areas in the "countryside" to have a portion of the national budget allocated for a service they can not utilize.
“Our people in the Visayas do not use the MRT but we want to have paved roads instead of jungle trails, clinics run by health professionals and not by albularyos and roofed classrooms instead of makeshift ones under the shade of mango trees,” Sarmiento said.
Iloilo Rep Jerry Treñas also supported for the fare hike and took a swipe at “Imperial Manila,” saying that the move allows non-Manila residents to have a fair share of the national taxes.
“Imperial Manila should not have a monopoly of these special subsidies. Visayans and Mindanaoans also deserve support from the government. A P10 savings from the subsidy being extended for MRT commuters would definitely allow the government to finance projects that would benefit communities outside of Metro Manila,” Treñas said.
Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said it costs P60 to transport passengers along the entire length of the railway, from North EDSA station to Taft station, and the P10 increase will allow the government to lower subsidies to P35.
Treñas said the move would also push the MRT management to improve their services.
“They can no longer blame the government for its failure to cover the subsidy because the passengers are now shouldering most of cost needed for their day-to-day operations including maintenance,” Treñas said. - Rappler.com
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