Yesterday, I had a privilege of talking with several people who are now up in arms against the sudden increases in MRT/LRT rates as well as the impending imposition of 3-4 pesos in water bills come February.
The general feeling of the people is that of government abandonment. Government, according to the people, is supposed to safeguard the interests and welfare of its people. Basing on certain pronouncements by the DOTC and the MWSS, it seems that the rationale given to justify these fare hikes is that of satisfying business requirements.
DOTC says they need to shore up funds to give to the business concessionaire appointed to improve MRT/LRT services. Why give the money when there is already an allotment for that in the DOTC 2015 budget?
Meanwhile, the MWSS became literally the spokesperson of Maynilad and Manila Water when it announced that the "rate rebasing" or quite literally, the rate hike, was allowed after an International arbitration court found reason for Maynilad to get a rate increase.
Maynilad president Ricky Vargas gave a rationale behind the rate rebasing--they need capital to fund their other water projects, probably related to the construction of water dams and the improvement of water distribution systems. Question--don't tell me that these projects were not allocated with funds already in the 2015 budget?
Government, being the primary regulator, is supposed to safeguard the people's rights. Of course, there must be a balance between the interests of Big business with that of consumers.
Consumers right now are heavily burdened by rising costs of living. Without any salary adjustment, how then can the Filipino cope with all these happening all at the same time?
Statistics show that 11 million Filipino families which translate to 55 million Filipinos consider themselves poor. I will not be surprised that, at the end of this year, this number balloons to catastrophic proportions.