No, the MRT is not owned by the government. It is owned by MRT Corp. in a Public-Private Partnership project deal in 1995 or 20 years ago this year.
Under the Aquino administration, two of highest ranking Liberal Party leaders oversaw the MRT-LRT as secretaries of the Department of Transportation and Communication: Mar Roxas (2011-2012) and Jun Abaya (2012-present). No one has resigned out of delicadeza.
Here are more facts and figures about the MRT and LRT, which every commuter and taxpayer should know:
- $190 million: Total investment of the private consortium MRT Corp. for the MRT, a “build-lease-transfer” project, from 1995-1997.
- Seven: Number of companies involved in the MRT Corp., namely Fil-Estate, Ayala Land, Anglo Phil Holdings, Ramcar Inc., Greenfield Development Corp., Antel Land Holdings, and DBH Inc.
- $488 million: Total loan obtained and paid for by the Philippine government to complete the financing for the MRT Corp.
- 15 percent: Total return of investment guaranteed by the Philippine government to the MRT Corp. for 2000-2025.
- $2.4 billion: DOTC estimate of the 15 percent return of investment guaranteed by the Philippine government to the MRT Corp. for 2000-2025.
- $779 million: Total “equity rental payments” paid by the Philippine government to the MRT Corp. from 2000-2013.
- P100 million: Monthly payments made to Sumitomo, the private company that maintained the MRT for the first 10 years.
- P517.5 million: Maintenance contract fees paid to private consortium PH Trams-CB&T for 10 months in 2012.
- P685 million: Annual maintenance contract price paid to private company APT Global for maintaining the MRT, under whose contract the worst MRT accident happened.
- P53 billion: Amount the Philippine government is willing to spend to “buy-back” the MRT but ironically with the intent of privatizing it again. (Estimate made under the Arroyo administration.)
- 73: original number of MRT trains.
- 72: number of operational trains when the Aquino administration took over.
- 4: number of operational trains in April 2015.
- P1.72 billion: Automated Fare Collection System bagged by the Pangilinan-Ayala consortium.
- P1.4 billion: LRT-MRT Common Station Project, bagged by the Pangilinan-Ayala consortium.
- P65 billion: LRT1 privatization and extension deal bagged by the Pangilinan-Ayala consortium composed of Metro Pacific (55 percent), Ayala (35 percent) and Macquire Holdings of Australia (10 percent).
- Negative P9.5 billion: Winning bid of the Ayala-Pangilinan consortium for the LRT1 privatization and extension deal.
- 32 years: Duration of the LRT1 privatization and expansion contract with the Pangilinan-Ayala consortium.
- P64 billion: Total tax exemptions guaranteed by the Philippine government to the Pangilinan-Ayala consortium.
- P35 billion: Total additional cost to be shouldered by the Philippine government for right of way, new coaches, LRT coach depot improvements and LRT satellite coach depot construction.
- P5 billion: Subsidy guaranteed by the Philippine government to the Pangilinan-Ayala consortium.
- P500 million: Total amount guaranteed by the Philippine government for a “block account” or a standby fund for use of the Pangilinan-Ayala consortium.
- 10.25 percent: Rate of LRT1 fare increase guaranteed to the Pangilinan-Ayala consortium every two years, aside from “inflation-based fare increase” every four years and another “five percent rate increase” when the LRT1 extension project is completed.
- P28: New MRT fare for North Avenue to Taft Avenue, or vice versa. Up by 86 percent from P15.
- P30: New LRT1 fare for Roosevelt to Baclaran, or vice versa. Up by 50 percent from P20.
- P24: New LRT2 fare for Recto to Santolan, or vice versa. Up by 60 percent from P15.
- P1.2-billion: Congress-approved supplemental budget in 2014 for MRT rehabilitation.
- P7.4-billion: Congress-approved budget in 2015 for MRT rehabilitation.
- P4.65-billion: Congress-approved budget in 2015 for MRT subsidies.
- P2-billion: Estimated “savings” from the removal of government subsidies on MRT-LRT fares.
From these facts and figures, we could arrive at the following conclusions:
- The mix of government incompetence and sellout, and the boundless greed of private sector consortiums has spelled disaster, chaos, and frustration to everyone — especially the riders of the MRT.
- We have been bled dry through fares and Philippine government payments to the MRT Corp. in exchange for the horrible and pathetic MRT.
- It is absolutely disgusting that the government is privatizing the better-managed, government-owned LRT and the LRT expansion under terms that are grossly-disadvantageous to commuters and all citizens. Bayan Muna is right: The sweetheart deal with the Pangilinan-Ayala consortium should be stopped.
- If the government has that much money to give and guarantee to private consortiums, why won’t it just “buy-back” the MRT and retain the LRT? If the government could run the LRT1 and LRT2 much better than the MRT, why insist on privatizing the LRT1 and at the most unfair terms?
- The fare hike was/is totally unwarranted. Accepting the fare hike would be like saying yes to the current situation of government incompetence and sellout and the boundless greed of private consortiums. In the case of the MRT, a fare hike would like rewarding the MRT Corp. and the DOTC for our daily misery. In the case of the LRT, a fare hike would be like rewarding the Pangilinan-Ayala consortium for getting a corrupt 32-year bonanza.
Note: A version of this article was published in the Manila Bulletin on 11 Oct. 2014.