Why OFWs oppose the MRT-LRT fare hikes

mrt lrt fare hikeFare hikes has increased most humble OFW families’ monthly spending by 92%

Migrante Partylist today said that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families strongly oppose the increase in MRT and LRT hikes because it is an anti-people privatization scheme meant solely to appease big businesses at the expense of basic social services.

“It is more than an inconvenience but a great disservice to our daily commuters. Billions of pesos from commuters’ pockets will not go to better services but to the pockets of huge private corporations. Even the DOTC has admitted that revenue from the fare hikes will not go to repairs and improvements in the train systems. The public is being made to shoulder the subsidy for a train system that is almost obsolete and nearly dilapidated. This is privatization at its worst. Gatasang-baka na nga ang mga OFW, pati mga pamilya nilang naiwan sa Pilipinas gatasang-baka rin ng gobyerno ni Aquino,” said Connie Bragas-Regalado, Migrante Partylist chairperson.

According to a study by Migrante Partylist, the MRT and LRT fare hikes has increased the monthly expenses of the most humble of remittance-dependent families by at least 92%.

Below is a case study of a humble remittance-dependent family with three school children based in Cubao, Quezon City. The family spent an average of P19,070 month before the increase in MRT-LRT fares:

Food – P6,000/month (P200/day)

Rent – P4,000 (one studio-type space)

LPG – P400 (2 “Superkalans”/month)

Electricity – P800/month

Water – P250/month

Toiletries – P900/month

Transportation costs of two family members (both minimum wage-earners in Manila) – P14 x 2 daily fare from Cubao to Taft or P1,120/month

Mobile phone load – P300 x 2 or P600/month

School supplies and needs – P5,000/month for 3 school children in public schools

TOTAL: P19,070

Their breadwinner is a domestic worker in the United Arab Emirates. She sends P21,000 every three (3) months, or P7,000 a month. Before the MRT-LRT fare increase, her remittance already fell P12,070 short of her family’s monthly expenses.

Her husband and her eldest son, both minimum wage-earners, allot almost most of their wages to their respective transportation costs and other daily operational needs. The OFW and the two other wage-earners in the family are also still paying debts incurred for the OFW’s job application abroad.

“With the recent increase in the MRT and LRT fare hikes, expenses for transportation costs of the two other wage-earners in the family shot up to P2,240 per month or a 100% increase, making the already monthly deficit remittance short by P13,190 or a 92% rate of increase in their monthly spending,” she said.

She added, the increase in monthly spending stated in this case study only reflects the effect of the MRT-LRT fare hikes on OFWs and their families. It does not yet include the definite onerous effects of the impending price hikes of other utilities such as water, electricity and other basic commodities on their monthly expenditure.

“At the end of the day, it is not the Aquino government, big businesses or contractors who will be making the hard decision 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 and other privatization schemes, OFWs and their families will be made to bear the brunt of the continuously dwindling real value of OFW remittances because of unending price hikes,” Bragas-Regalado said. ###