Solons hail DoTr threat to terminate BURI contract
The Department of Transportation “is finally giving justice to the taxpayers” by formally threatening to terminate the Busan Universal Rail, Inc.’s contract over the Metro Rail Transit Line 3, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Rep. Jericho Jonas Nograles said on Friday.
Nograles, who had spearheaded a congressional inquiry into the alleged anomalies in BURI’s maintenance of the MRT-3, said the government should not just stop at this development.
“Our investigations have revealed irregularities that lead could lead to plunder of past officials and private personalities. We hope that the Government will pursue criminal charges against these individuals and companies,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said that while he welcomed the DoTr’s issuance of a notice of termination dated Oct. 17, this “should have been done much earlier as the company miserably failed to do its job.”
Echoing Nograles’ call for charges to be filed, Zarate said BURI “seems to be trying to break the record of the highest number of MRT glitches and breakdowns per day.”
“We also trust and challenge the current DOTr leadership to vigorously run after past DOTC officials of the Aquino administration for the sorry state of the MRT and other mass transport systems in the country as well as the numerous anomalies in the transportation sector,” he added.
In a statement on Friday, the DoTr said BURI was given seven calendar days to respond with a position paper explaining why the contract should not be terminated. Afterwards, the agency will decide if the termination should push through.
In the notice, the DoTr cited four grounds: poor performance, failure to ensure train availability, failure to implement a feasible procurement plan for spare parts, and failure to comply with the requirement of an updated computerized maintenance management system.
BURI, however, said it believed the DoTr would not make good on its threat because “the grounds raised by DOTr in its notice to terminate its contract will be proven to be bereft of factual and legal basis.”
It maintained that the allegation of poor performance “will be met by evidence that BURI has delivered even more than what is required under its contract.”
It said it was able to raise the number of running trains to the present 22, from the 13 that ran when BURI’s contract took effect in January 2016.
BURI also maintained that the supposed increase in train removals, service interruptions, unloading of passengers, and derailing incidents was “mainly caused by MRT3 system design issues and not by alleged poor maintenance.”
“BURI cannot and should not be made to answer for these, in addition to passenger-caused interruptions and those attributed to driver error,” the statement stressed. “BURI’s true responsibility, again borne out by the contract, is to be able to fix or correct these glitches when they arise—and not to make them disappear entirely.”
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