MANILA, Philippines – Cavite 7th District Representative Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla blamed corporations Ayala and Metro Pacific for delays in the construction of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT1) Cavite extension and the Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) station.
Remulla said the Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) would have been "viable" if not for these construction delays, since the LRT1 extension was supposed to have a station at the terminal to transport passengers to and from Metro Manila.
Instead, commuters who already spend 7.5 hours traveling two-way from the farthest points are forced to take another ride to other parts of Metro Manila. Consequently, they get to work late or they line up for hours just to get a ride.
Remulla addressed these concerns, saying the PITX "really hurt" the people of Cavite because of the lack of a plan to dispatch people to their destinations.
"In the PITX, they did not put in the dedicated rides to the business districts and to the educational institutions. They just let it be," Remulla said on Tuesday, August 13, during the Senate hearing on the provincial bus ban.
In the past, the former Cavite governor proposed solutions to address these difficulties in a letter to the Department of Transportation (DOTr), requesting Secretary Arthur Tugade to allow both provincial and city buses to enter Metro Manila and reach their designated terminals.
He had also previously moved to suspend PITX operations until the LRT1 extension was constructed, saying it did not serve the general public at its current state.
Remulla now calls on people to stop turning a blind eye to the problem of concessionaires, which he said were being favored by the government.
Further, he also slammed the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board for "adapting discriminatory practices" by awarding concessionaires without distinguishing which will serve the commuters' interests.
"The DOTr is not calling the attention of those running the LRT1 and those in charge of the extension, and [is instead] allowing these people to take their sweet time," he said.
The Light Rail Manila Corporation – a consortium of Ayala Corporation, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, and the Macquarie group – took over the operations, maintenance, and extension of the LRT1 in September 2015.
Remulla on Tuesday proposed that these concessions be awarded to another group if the current concessionaires are not continuing with the construction.
"That is a very urgent matter that they should be doing. Kung hindi kaya ng Ayala 'yan tsaka Metro Pacific, ibigay na nila sa ibang concessionaire na may kaya. Kasi para namang maghihintay tayo forever for Ayala to move eh," he said.
(If Ayala and Metro Pacific cannot do it, give it to a concessionaire who can. We can't wait forever for Ayala to move.) – Rappler.com
Other stories from the hearing:
Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.