Wednesday, 14 April 2021 10:36 GMT

Labour group slams transport fare increase

(MENAFN - The Peninsula) The labour group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) slammed the impending hike in the fares of Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT), pointing out the government subsidy for the travel budget of public officials is also increasing.

PM spokesman Wilson Fortaleza said the travel budget of public officials has increased by at least 1.5bn pesos yearly since 2011.

"Clearly, there is a tale of inequality in this issue. First, the fare hike as admitted by Secretary Abaya himself is meant not for service upgrade but mainly for debt payments to an onerous contract with a private concessionaire," Fortaleza said, referring to Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.

He said the budget cut is imposed on poor commuters while travel budget for public officials keeps increasing.

Fortaleza added Malacañang has "uncaringly decided to remove the seven billion pesos to 10bn pesos subsidy to millions of train riders, purportedly to re-channel the freed budget to other social services."

But at the same time, Malacañang had "resourcefully kept" on increasing the travel budget of public officials by at least 1.5bn pesos every year.

Bomb found in Basilan jeepney

ZAMBOANGA CITY: Army Scout Rangers seized a powerful improvised bomb on a passenger jeepney in downtown Lamitan in Basilan shortly before noon yesterday.

The Scout Rangers are questioning two suspects, whose names have not been released.

Senior Inspector Gean Gallardo, Lamitan City police chief, said the Scout Rangers found the bomb on the jeepney while it was parked in the oval near the commercial district on a tip from an intelligence asset.

The Scout Rangers found the bomb inside a medium carton box covered with okra after searching the jeepney, he added.

The jeepney had just arrived from Al Barka town, Gallardo said.

Police said the bomb was made of two kilos of ammonium nitrate and half kilo of common nails.

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