Fare hikes will increase OFW families’ micro-spending by at least 20% Position paper of Migrante International on the proposed MRT-LRT fare hike, August 2013

Migrante International strongly opposes the impending increase in MRT and LRT fares because the fee hikes will increase the daily operational expense of the families of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) by at least 20 percent.

Below is a case study of a humble remittance-dependent family with four school children based in Cubao, Quezon City. The family spends an average of P14,500 per month:

Food – P6,000 (P200/day)

Rent – P3,000 (one room)

LPG – P400 (2 “Superkalans”/month)

Electricity – P600

Water – P250

Toiletries (soap, shampoo, etc.) – P900

Transportation costs of children to school – P3,360 – P14 x 2 daily fare of 4 children to and from school

TOTAL: P14,510

Their breadwinner is a domestic worker in Saudi Arabia. She sends P21,000 every three (3) months, or P7,000 a month. Her remittance falls P7,500 short of her family’s monthly expenses.

With the proposed increase in MRT and LRT fare hikes, expenses for transportation of the school children would shoot up to Php6,720, leaving the already deficit remittance short by another P3,000.

The increase in daily spending stated in this case study only reflects the effect of the proposed MRT-LRT fare hikes. It does not yet include the effects on their daily spending of the continuous onslaught of price increases of other utilities such as water, electricity and other basic commodities that may be affected by oil price hikes.

At the end of the day, it is not the Aquino government, big businesses or contractors who will be making the hard decisions but our workers, OFWs and their families. This is the glaring reality. While Pres. Aquino seems to be appeasing big businesses through the MRT-LRT fare hikes, OFWs and their families will be made to bear the brunt of the dwindiling value of OFW remittances because of unending price hikes. ###