Militant solons say taxes wasted as no end seen to MRT system woes
DAVAO CITY—A militant party-list group is pressing for a House investigation of what it said was the continuing troubles hounding the country’s commuter rail system that lead to waste of public funds.
In a statement, Bayan Muna Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Isagani Zarate said the high cost of subsidies given by taxpayers to the Metro Rail Transit system are going to waste amid train breakdowns.
Earlier at a Senate hearing, Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Grace Poe expressed dissatisfaction with the explanations made by ranking transport officials on why the MRT system is suffering from safety issues.
At the hearing, Escudero questioned why the maintenance provider of MRT, Japanese firm Sumitomo, had been replaced and was told that it was because it no longer gave warranty that the new maintenance providers, PH Trams and APT Global, are giving.
Asked at the hearing if it was true, MRT Holdings chair Robert Sobrepeña, chair of MRT Corp. in 2000, said Sumitomo actually gave a guarantee for 20-60 trains to be running during the rail’s operating hours.
After more questions, Escudero concluded that the new maintenance providers gave no warranties, either.
Poe said her main concern was safety and questioned the chopping up of contracts for various maintenance items, like overhauling of trains.
She was told that overhauling is not part of maintenance, which surprised the senators.
Sobrepeña said at the hearing that, during Sumitomo’s tenure as maintenance provider, overhauling was part of maintenance.
“There is need to look into the operational costs of the MRT to check if there might be mismanagement of funds,” said Zarate. Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao
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