MANILA, Philipppines - Newly appointed DOTC Secretary Joseph Abaya confirmed the plan to increase the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) fares by P10 next year.
In his first press conference since assuming the post, Abaya said the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) budget for this year and next year was designed to provide less subsidy for the MRT 3. He added government is already spending additional money to preserve the fare.
Abaya argued that a fare hike is reasonable - from the current fare of P15 (from North Edsa to Taft), the MRT fare will cost P25. He said this was much lower than the P45 bus fare when travelling the same distance.
The government has been subsidizing MRT fares for 10 years now and the amount of subsidy has already reached P75 billion.
But militant groups Bayan and Riles Network stormed the DOTC to protest the plan to raise MRT fares. They warned of heightened protest actions against the government if the MRT fare hike plan is implemented.
No decision on moving NAIA to Clark
Meanwhile, Abaya said there is still no decision on the plan to move the country's main gateway to Clark International Airport from Manila.
Airlines such as Philippine Airlines do not support the move, saying Clark is too far from Manila. PAL is reportedly planning to build its own airport in Bulacan.
Abaya said Bulacan is not even in the picture, saying it would be quite expensive to build a new airport from scratch. He said the advantage of Clark is that there is already existing infrastructure and an area of 2,000 plus hectares.