Balik trabaho ang milyun-milyong manggagawa sa Kamaynilaan at kasabay nito, sinalubong naman ng protesta ng grupong Nagkaisa ang ipinapatupad na pagtaas ng pamasahe sa MRT at LRT.
Mahigit kalahati mula sa dating singil ang nadagdag sa pasahe sa MRT3 at LRT 1 & 2.
Pinangunahan ng Partido Manggagawa (PM), PALEA at Federation of Free Workers (FFW) ang protesta sa kabilang dulo ng MRT sa Pasay-Taft habang ang grupong Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa o Sentro, PSLINK, PM, at iba pang kasapi ng Nagkaisa sa dulong istasyon naman ng North Avenue sa Trinoma. Ang Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) naman ang nanguna sa Cubao station.
Bukod sa pagtuligsa sa ipinapatupad na pagtaas, hinihikayat din ng grupo ang kapwa manggagawa na personal na ipahayag ang kanilang protesta sa pamamagitan ng ibat-ibang paraan gaya ng ‘selfie’ at ‘groufie’, pagsali sa mga petisyon at pagsama mismo sa mga aksyon laban dito.
Tinututulan ng manggagawa ang pagtaas ng pamasahe sa MRT at LRT sa 4 na dahilan:
- Mahihirap na manggagawa ang nakikinabang sa subsidyo at murang pasahe sa MRT at LRT;
- Ang pagtaas ay hindi mapupunta sa maayos na serbisyo dahil nakalaan itong pambayad sa madaya ngunit garantisadong kita ng private concessionaire na MRTC;
- Tinatanggal ng gubyerno ang subsidyo sa MRT at LRT pero nilalakihan naman nito ang travel budget ng mga opisyal ng pamahalaan;
- Ang fare hike ay insentibo sa pribatisasyon ng MRT at LRT.
Nanawagan ang Nagkaisa! sa Malacanang na bawiin ng desisyon sa dagdag na pasahe dahil ang rehabilitasyon nito ay pinondohan na sa loob ng 2015 National Budget.
Nagbabala pa ang grupo na lalo lang magagalit ang mananakay ng tren dahil wala silang makikitang pagbabago sa serbisyo nito sa kabila ng dagdag na singil.
Hindi aniya patas na maginhawa ang byahe ng mga opisyal ng pamahalaan dahil sa lumalaking travel budget ng mga ito habang parusa ang pasalubong ng bagong taon sa milyun-milyong manggagawa.
Nagbabala rin ang grupo na maglulunsad pa ng mga susunod na protesta hangga’t hindi ito itinitigil ng pamahalaan.
Labor groups under the coalition Nagkaisa! are set to welcome the first working day of 2015 with a protest against what they consider as government’s assault on workers’ living condition – the implementation of fare hikes in the MRT and LRT system.
The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) proceeded with the implementation of the rate hike yesterday, amid oppositions from labor, commuter groups and legislators.
Based on surveys, lowly-paid workers and students make up the bulk of regular train riders.
Members of Partido Manggagawa (PM), Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) and The Federation of Free Workers (FFW) will be leading the protest at the MRT Pasay-Taft station while the Sentro ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa (SENTRO), Public Sevices Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), PM and other members of Nagkaisa are taking the MRT North Avenue station. The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) is taking the Cubao station.
Aside from the mass action, Nagkaisa! will be distributing leaflets explaining why commuters should reject the fire hike and how they can express their protest.
In opposing the fare hike Nagkaisa! contends that:
- Fare hike is not meant for service upgrade but for debt payments to a private concessionaire;
- Most of train riders belong to lowly-paid workers;
- Government cutting MRT/LRT subsidy but hiking travel budget of public officials;
- Fare hike is a move towards privatization
The group said commuters can express their opposition in various forms including:
- Making selfies or group pics holding mini posters and posting it on their social media accounts accompanied by #MRTprotest hashtag;
- Joining online petitions addressed to the DOTC, Malacanang and Congress;
- Seeking remedy from the courts; and
- Joining scheduled mass actions
“The fare hike is the first oppressive policy of the year, the first assault by government on workers’ living condition. Workers were first to pay their taxes but they were also the first to carry the burden of budget cuts and other unjust policies by government,” said PM spokesman Wilson Fortaleza.
He added: “Sa daang matuwid, manggagawa ang tinitipid.”
On his part PALEA President Gerry Rivera, lamented that while fares in other modes of transportation, including airlines, are dropping significantly because of the sharp drop in oil prices, but fares in the MRT and LRT are rising by as much as 87%.
SENTRO Secretary General and Nagkaisa! convenor Josua Mata said, “The true logic of removing the MRT subsidy is the government shifting to the role of shameless facilitator to the transfer of public money to private hands. In this particular case, the commuters subsidizing the guaranteed returns of private investors.”
The Nagkaisa in a series of dialogues with the President has called for a cost-effective and efficient mass transport system since the heavy traffic has been eating up a lot of productive hours of workers.
“The PNoy administration has not only failed to address the traffic mess, it is shamelessly adding a three-fold burden to workers who will have to shell out more for their own train fare and that of their children who go to school,” said Julius Cainglet of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW).
A COALITION of 49 labor groups and workers’ organizations called Nagkaisa is demanding President Aquino to immediately fire Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla for deceiving the Filipino people with his manufactured power shortage scenario hitting the entire island of Luzon early 2015.
Officials of the Department of Energy admitted during a congressional hearing that the projected deficit in supply for the coming summer of 2015 is only about 21 to 31 MW, a far cry from the 1,200 MW shortfall trumpeted by Petilla.
“It is now very clear to us that Secretary Petilla took the country for a ride. He bluffed the president, the cabinet, the senators and the congressmen, the business sectors, the labor and consumer groups with his tall tales of thin power reserves to justify emergency powers that entails possible purchase of multi-billion peso generator sets. Mr. Petilla deliberately exposed the country to unnecessary jeopardy that has been discouraging job-creating investments away since he came out with his bogus story in July,” Josua Mata of Sentro-Nagkaisa, one of Nagkaisa convenors said reading Nagkaisa statement.
“This is a grave crime to the Filipino people. The only way for Secretary Petilla to redeem himself, after having been rebuffed by congressmen for his exaggerated numbers on the alleged looming power crisis, is to apologize to the people and submit an irrevocable resignation. If he doesn’t have the delicadeza to do so, we are demanding his head from the president. Either way, the Filipino people does not deserve a reprehensible nincompoop in government,” he added.
“Instead of asking congress to hastily grant him emergency powers, President Aquino should first kick his energy man out for his failure to lead a critical department of the executive,” Wilson Fortaleza, spokesperson of Partido Manggagawa-Nagkaisa.
Fortaleza said Petilla’s main blunder is the absence of policy intervention and the heap of unsound options in addressing the looming power crisis.
Petilla has proposed costly lease agreements from independent power producers to fill up the capacity gap in two years. Another option was to top existing capacities from industries’ embedded generator sets under the Interruptible Load Program (ILP).
“Petilla must go not because power emergency is none existent but also because policy intervention is absent. The president must fire him for deceiving the entire nation including himself as the chief executive and his fellow members of the cabinet,” added Fortaleza.
Another convenor, Louie Corral, executive director of Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagakisa, explained that had the government acted as early as 2011, we could have started building new capacities by building new power plants; forced private power to rationalize their scheduled maintenance shutdowns; optimize the use of every plant especially hydro; and exercised strong regulatory powers to prevent market fraud.
Yet these options, Fortaleza said, can still be utilized right now as these powers are present under DOE’s mandate, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the Office of the President, and Congress under the Joint Congresional Power Commission (JCPC).
“The only time we will support emergency powers is when the government finally decides to take over the whole industry with the utmost objectives of bringing down the price and securing a sustainable power supply not only for present needs but also for the next generations to come,” concluded Corral.
The Nagkaisa is a coalition of labor unions and workers’ organizations who band together three years ago to advance security of tenure, reduce the price of electricity, empower public sector workers and improve workers living wage. The members of the coalition are the Alliance of Free Workers (AFW) All Filipino Workers Confederation (AFWC), Automobile Industry Workers Alliance (AIWA), Alab Katipunan, Association of Genuine Labor Organizations (AGLO), Associated Labor Unions (ALU), Associated Labor Unions- Association of Professional Supervisory Officers Technical Employees Union (ALU-APSOTEU), ALU-Metal, Associated Labor Unions-Philippine Seafarers’Union (ALU-PSU), ALU-Textile, ALU-Transport, Associated Labor Unions-Visayas Mindanao Confederation of Trade Unions (ALU-VIMCOMTU), Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), Association of Trade Unions (ATU), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Confederation of Independent Unions (CIU), Confederation of Labor and Allied Social Services (CLASS), Construction Workers Solidarity (CWS), Federation of Coca-Cola Unions (FCCU), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Kapisanan ng Maralitang Obrero (KAMAO), Katipunan, Pambansang Kilusan sa Paggawa (KILUSAN), Kapisanan ng mga Kawani sa Koreo sa Pilipinas (KKKP), Labor education and Research Network (LEARN), League of Independent Bank Organizations (LIBO), Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan (MAKABAYAN), MARINO, National Association of Broadcast Unions (NABU), National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU), National Mines and Allied Workers Union (NAMAWU), National Association of Trade Unions (NATU), National Confederation of Labor (NCL), National Confederation of Transport Union (NCTU), National Union of Portworkers in the Philippines (NUPP), National Union of Workers in Hotel, Restaurant and Allied Industries (NUWHRAIN), Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA), Pepsi Cola Employees Union of the Philippines (PEUP), Philippine Government Employees Association (PGEA), Pinag-isang Tinig at Lakas ng Anakpawis (PIGLAS), Philippine Integrated Industries Labor Union (PILLU), Philippine Independent Public Sector Employees Association (PIPSEA), Partido Manggagawa (PM), Philippine Metalworkers Alliance (PMA), Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), Philippine Transport and General Workers Organization (PTGWO), SALIGAN, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Workers Solidarity Network (WSN).