Abaya: MRT3 is safe, riding it ‘a personal decision’

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DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya insisted Thursday that riding the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT3) is safe, despite the accident, which happened Wednesday, leaving 38 injured.

Abaya, in an interview on Radyo Inquirer 990 AM, said that the fact that full operations of the MRT3 resumed almost immediately after the crash reflected that the system is intact.

“Bahagi ng ating procedure ay hindi dapat pinapatakbo ang MRT3 kung may pagkukulang o hindi ligtas sa mga pasahero. Just the fact na nag-operate siya kaagad ibig sabihin, intact ang sistema and ang pangyayari ay hindi nakakaapekto sa full operations,” said Abaya.

(Part of our procedure is that the MRT will not be allowed to operate if it is not safe for the passengers. Just the fact that the operations resumed immediately means that the system is intact and what happened did not affect the full operations of the MRT3.)

Riding MRT personal choice

However, despite allaying fears regarding the safety of the MRT3, Abaya will not convince the public to ride the MRT3, saying that it is on the discretion of the people.

“Riding is a personal decision. I won’t go out of my way to convince the people to ride. Kanya-kanyang desisyon naman ‘yan. Malayang bansa naman ito,” Abaya said.

(Riding is a personal decision. I won’t go out of my way to convince the people to ride. It’s every person’s decision. This is a free country.)

Abaya said that what is important is that full operations of the MRT3 have been restored.

Abaya also apologized to the passengers and the victims of the crash.

Two probes underway

In the same interview, Abaya said that two teams, one from MRT3 and one from DOTC, are now conducting their investigation regarding the accident.

He said that the investigations are expected to be finished within two to three days.

Abaya said that they are zeroing in into two possible causes for the accident, which are procedural error, where the standard operating procedures were not met, and failure of materials.

Abaya also disclosed future plans of DOTC regarding the MRT such as the government’s plan to buy-out the MRT3 and the purchase of 48 new coaches, which are expected to arrive on 2015.

An MRT train overshot the tracks from Taft Avenue station Wednesday leaving 38 passengers injured. The said train, which had broken down in Magallanes station, was being pushed by a second train when the coupling between the two broke, causing the first train to ram the metal stopper at Taft avenue station.

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