Stop moping, take-over MRT now – Anakpawis solon to gov’t

Anakpawis protest against MRT-LRT Fare Hike in front of congress.Anakpawis protest against MRT-LRT Fare Hike in front of congress.

Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik’ Casilao renewed again his call for a government takeover of the deteriorating MRT 3 system and quit hesitating or considering another round of misery for the hundreds of thousands of commuters.

“We seriously demand the Duterte government to take over the transport system, nationalize and establish a local industry for its sustainability, the Filipino commuter had enough of import-dependent system that eventually led to woeful experience,” Casilao said in a statement.

The lawmaker said that finding a new contractor such as Sumitomo for the system will not resolve the system’s deterioration, as it was already bared during its stint maintenance contractor from 2000 to 2011. Resigned Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary for Rail Cesar Chavez already revealed that even under Sumitomo’s term, number of passenger unloading incidents spiked up from 2007 at 539 to 2011 at 457. While incidents under the Busan Universal Rail Incorporated (BURI) peaked at 576 in 2016. Also in 2009 to 2011, Sumitomo could only make 19 to 20 trains available during peak hours, a slight difference with BURI’s 17 to 19 trains.

“As Usec Chavez was transparent enough to reveal this, we are starting to understand why he resigned, and after his resignation, all this buzz about Sumitomo replacing BURI took over,” Casilao said.

The lawmaker also highlighted that the public should see beyond the maintenance issue, but to comprehend that this was brought about by the neo-liberal framework, manifested by the Build-Lease-Transfer (BLT) contract between the government and MRT Corporation (MRTC). Chavez revealed that the government is paying MRTC with P610 million monthly as equity rental payment (ERP). The MRT’s total cost was $675.5 million in 2000 (about P30.2 billion), while the investors’ equity was at $190 million in 1996 (about P5 billion).

“The gov’t will be massively shelling out P75 to P100 billion just for these rentals until 2025, and obviously it will be sourced not just from the commuting public, but from the taxpayers,” Casilao said.

The lawmaker said that privatization will not solve the MRT issue, but only further victimize the commuting public and the people to the parasitism of the private sector, thus, this require the government’s resolute political will to take-over and nationalize the system. ###