MANILA, March 5, 2015—An official of the Church’s policy-making body expresses support for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) opposing the fare hike implemented recently by the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) authorities.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo said the decision to increase fare collection only adds burden to millions of Filipinos who depend daily on transportation.
Makes poor poorer
In an interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas, the prelate, who chairs the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Permanent Committee on Public Affairs (PCPA), lamented the fare hike further impoverishes ordinary workers, informal and minimum-wage earners who barely manage to budget their limited pay.
Pabillo stressed the government should prioritize the repair of defective train coaches and on improving the quality of their service to the commuting public, rather than on augmenting their collection.
The bishop also noted that a TRO must be issued given that the MRT/LRT fare hike “did not comply with the requirements” on full public disclosure when it was enforced.
Since Jan. 4, 2015, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) charges MRT commuters an additional Php 13, and LRT-1/LRT-2 commuters Php 10.
Lawmakers back TRO
Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers consisting of one senator, several congressmen, and major labor and party list groups filed Tuesday, Mar. 3, at the Supreme Court (SC) a petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for issuance of TRO against the recent fare hike, the Senate press office announced.
The petitioners, led by Senator Joseph Victor G. Ejercito, asserted DOTC failed to coordinate and direct the Land Transportation Franchise and Regulatory Board (LTRFB) to comply with the publication, notice, and hearing requirements for the fare hike.
According to Executive Order (EO) 202, the LTFRB has the “adjudicatory power to determine, prescribe and approve and periodically review and adjust, reasonable fares, rates and other related charges, relative to the operation of public land transportation services provided by motorized vehicles.”
This function of LTFRB is also in relation to the 2011 LTFRB Rules of Procedure.
Null and void
Instead, however, the DOTC issued Department Order No. 2014 – 014 on Dec. 18, 2014, which announced the fare increase.
The petitioners added DOTC unilaterally “proposed, approved, and implemented” the fare adjustment, and hence, has no authority to issue the assailed Department Order, and therefore can be considered “null and void.” (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)