The population in Metro Manila in 2012 was about 12.2 million. Assuming five per family, that means we have 2.4 million families, and the number of poor families was therefore 2.6 percent of 2.4 million, or 63,000 families.
How can 63,000 poor families generate daily ridership of at least 540,000 passengers a day for the MRT, and 560,000 passengers a day for the LRT1 (I don’t know what it is for LRT2)? Please.
In other words, the majority of the riders in the rail transit system are not poor. Keeping fares down subsidizes the nonpoor more than it helps the poor. If we want to subsidize the poor, charging everybody low fares is not the answer. And remember that the subsidy is being paid by Filipinos everywhere, who are probably poorer than their Metro Manila brethren. Also, remember that the fare increases will only reduce the total subsidy by P2 billion, or only one-sixth of it, according to estimates. So the Metro Manilans are still the favored offspring.
P-Noy, in his 2013 Sona, said, “Wala tayong balak magpamana ng problema sa susunod sa atin.” He is not going to export the problem to his successor. And he is not going to favor Metro Manilans at the expense of the rest of the Filipinos. Bully for him. I wish he would do it more often. In this, he is acting like a statesman, in contrast to the other politicians who, conscious of the Metro Manila vote, are standing on their heads trying to justify an unjustifiable situation.