MANILA -- A party-list group appealed to the Aquino administration to retain the current Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) fares and instead look for less burdensome ways to solve the financial situation of train lines.

Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño said that President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III should look deeper into where the government subsidy to the train system goes before adding another burden to the commuting public.

“Hundreds of thousands of people take the LRT and MRT trains daily precisely because its cheap and efficient. People who have little time and less money take the train to work,” he added.

According to the group, the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) holds a combined 80 percent stake in Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC) worth US$750 billion. The two banks have 10 seats in the 15-man board of directors of Metro Rail Transit.

In 18 January 2010, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order 855 mandating the National Development Co. (NDC) to acquire the MRTC from the two banks. The NDC will eventually privatize the MRTC shares.

“There is something really fishy here. Is the pot being sweetened for a juicy public-private partnership deal?" asked Casiño. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)