Poe vows to go after ‘inept’ officials behind MRT mess
Senator Grace Poe won’t just stop until “inept” and “corrupt” government officials responsible for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 mess are punished.
On Wednesday, Poe formally sought a Senate probe on the reported “inefficient” management of the MRT 3 and the need to examine the newly delivered Dalian trains due to allegations that they would remain unusable until 2018.
In Senate Resolution No. 355, the senator tasked the Senate committee on public services, which she chairs, to conduct the probe.
“Congress, in the exercise of its oversight function in aid of legislation should ensure a safe, decent, and efficient public transportation system; thus, inept and corrupt government officials should not go unpunished for entering into anomalous and patently disadvantageous contracts in the public transportation sector,” Poe said in the resolution.
The senator said it was imperative for the Senate to conduct an investigation “precisely because this issue is a recurring one that has yet to be resolved by the proper government agencies.”
There is also a need, she said, to “reexamine” the two contracts that the previous Department of Transportation and Communication then headed by Secretary Joseph Abaya as these involved billions of pesos and “directly affect and could possibly endanger the safety and convenience of thousands of commuters.”
She was referring to the P3.8 billion maintenance contract with the Busan Universal Rail Inc. (Buri) and another P3.8 billion deal with China’s Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. for the purchase of 48 new light rail vehicles (LRVs).
The resolution noted that since 2016, various media have reported about the alleged anomalies with the MRT 3 maintenance contract between the previous administration and Buri.
“Since then, the MRT 3 has experienced several technical problems, such as derailment, doors failing to close, and service interruptions leading to increasing complaints from the public,” it said.
Just recently, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has asked Buri to explain why its maintenance contract should not be terminated following reports that one of MRT trains had been derailed.
The resolution said that aside from entering the allegedly anomalous maintenance contract, the MRT was hounded by another problem, this time, involving the purchase of 48 LRVs from Dalian.
DOTr Undersecretary for the Rail Sector Cesar Chavez had reportedly said that while the 48 Dalian coaches had already been delivered, they could not be used for at least a year as there are still issues that need to be addressed. IDL
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