Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cancel MRT contract if you have real political will, Palace urged

Press Release
January 6, 2015

The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) lambasted Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya for bragging about ‘political will’ in justifying the MRT and LRT rate hike, saying political will is best understood when imposed against a mighty force and not on the hapless poor.

Abaya claimed over media interview the other day that political will defined the major difference between the past and the present administration in dealing with the MRT and LRT fare hike.

“Political will do not differentiate the past and present regimes over this issue as they all bear the same class bias and more or less, the same failures.  PNoy is bolder to tread on the unpopular but that doesn’t mean a triumph of tuwid na daan.  If the President and the entire government cannot go after corporations and powerful people behind this railway scam, that political will assumes no effective meaning other than imposing the burden to the poor,” said PM spokesman Wilson Fortaleza.

PM and other labor groups under Nagkaisa! participated in yesterdays protest actions held at select MRT stations.  They called on the government to run after private contractors who messed up with the metro rail system rather than shifting the burden to the poor.

“Everybody knows that this crashing railway system, the MRT3 in particular, was a product of an onerous contract.  The test of political will, therefore, is in the cancellation of this contract and the prosecution of people and corporations behind the scam, not penalizing the people who are the rightful beneficiary of this social good,” argued Fortaleza.

Fortaleza argued further that the Palace is making gross misrepresentation in labelling government appropriations made for the maintenance and operations of the MRT as ‘subsidy’ to commuters when in fact it is a guaranteed payment to that onerous take-or-pay contract. 

“The government bleeds heavily from this and congressmen from Visayas and Mindanao complain about inequalities created by this subsidy. We never see them complain, however, against powerful forces behind this mess whom they certainly know and perhaps worked hand in hand with,” concluded Fortaleza. ###

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