DAVAO CITY – Women’s partylist Gabriela is not happy with the free train rides offered by the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to all women on the observation of the International Women’s Day tomorrow.

More than free rides, the government should nationalize the Metro Rail Transit and the Light Rail Transit, said Gabriela Women’s Partylist representative, Luzviminda Ilagan.

“Thank you for the token, almost insignificant women’s day gift. Women, especially mothers, commuting workers and students would certainly appreciate it more if you gave us free rides every day of the week by revoking the onerous contracts with profit-raking private firms and nationalizing the transport system,” Ilagan said.

The DOTC offers free rides to women on March 8 from 7-9 am and 5-7 pm.

Ilagan said they need a break from the burdensome train fare not just on women’s day.

“We have to remember that at least 73% of the MRT and LRT’s weekday commuting passengers belong to the 0-10,000 income range,” Ilagan said.

Ilagan also calls the government to “immediately revoke onerous build-lease-transfer contracts entered into by the government with corporations that guarantee at least 15% annual return on investment in the form of equity rental payments.”

“These contracts spawn these fare hikes and consequently place the burden on poor commuters. These contracts should be revoked,” she said.

Meanwhile, groups are also calling for the cessation of the military offensive in Central Mindanao and Maguindanao in time for the International Women’s Day celebration.

Suara Bangsamoro, in a statement Saturday, said “no other call may be relevant in the spirit of pursuit of the betterment of women’s status in society today” than the call to stop military offensive in Mindanao.

Jerome Sucor Aba, spokesperson of Suara Bangsamoro said armed forces chief Gen Gregorio Catapang’s declaration of all-out war against the Moro insurgents “manifests of the government’s indifference towards women’s rights and those of children as well.”

The AFP has declared an all-out offensive against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters of February 25.

According to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (ARMM-HEART) there are at least 54,370 internally displaced persons (IDPS) as of Tuesday in at least nine towns in Maguindanao province. (davaotoday.com)

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