New transport chief to review MRT fare hike

By Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 19 2012 04:04 PM | Updated as of Sep 20 2012 04:18 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Incoming Transportation and Communications Secretary Emilio "Jun" Abaya on Wednesday said he will conduct a review of all pending DOTC projects and policies first before implementing anything. This includes impending fare increases, particularly in the Metro Rail Transit.

Abaya breezed through his confirmation hearing Wednesday morning, as he got a recommendation from Senator Jinggoy Estrada after just one question.

Estrada asked him about his relationship with Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr, who hails from Cavite.

Abaya is the great grandson of the first Philippine president, Emilio Aguinaldo, and is thus, from Cavite as well.

Abaya said that despite being rivals in Cavite, he maintains a cordial relationship with the Revillas and even visited his office before the start of the hearing. Abaya can only assume his post by mid-October though.

The new transportation secretary said President Aquino's instruction was for him to finish budget deliberations at the House of Representatives until it passes third reading.

He said he will conduct a review of all pending Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) projects and policies including the MRT fare increase.

Outgoing Secretary Mar Roxas said the MRT fare hike may be implemented by January 2013. Abaya said he cannot say yet if the implementation will push through by January since he would like to conduct his own review first.