Poe calls for ‘emergency’ Senate hearing over MRT maintenance woes
Senator Grace Poe said she will hold an “emergency” hearing in the Senate, following reports that the maintenance service provider of the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) has allegedly backed out of its hastily awarded contract.
Poe, who chairs the Senate subcommittee on public services, expressed alarm that MRT trains would be running without proper maintenance, posing safety risks to more than 600,000 commuters who use the MRT-3 everyday.
“Meron na po tayong emergency situation kaya kailangan na ring magtawag ng isa pang hearing na ii-schedule na rin namin sa mga darating na araw,” she said in a statement on Friday.
(We already have an emergency situation, so we have to call for another hearing to be scheduled in the days to come.)
Busan Transport Corp., the Korean firm and minority partner in a consortium that includes four Filipino firms, was reportedly backing out of the P3.8 billion three-year maintenance deal with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) for fear of lawsuits related to the nature of the contract awarding.
The consortium, which bagged the contract last month in closed-door negotiations with the DOTC, was supposed to take over MRT-3 maintenance from PH Trams on January 6.
“Noon pa namin tinatanong sa kanila, na yung inyong sinasabing Korean partner na may technical expertise, ilang percent ba ang ownership nila? At parang lumalabas na wala pa yatang five percent ownership, at ngayon nga umatras na,” Poe said.
(We had long been asking them, of the said Korean partner with technical expertise, what percentage of it do they own? And it turns out not even five –percent ownership, and now it has already backed out.)
She said her committee would have to check the availability of Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and others, who were involved in the maintenance contract awarding. Abaya and other DOTC top officials were present during the committee’s last hearing on November 9, 2015.
“Alam niyo, ang sakit din ng DOTC, ‘pag magpapatawag ka ng hearing, biglang meron silang mga out of town trips, o meron silang mga kasabay na mga seminar or kung anuman ang kailangan nilang daluhan,” Poe pointed out.
“Kung naalala po ninyo noong huling hearing namin, nagbigay sila ng mga deadlines kung kailan made-deliver yung mga bagong train, kung kailan maaayos yung mga escalators, so iniisip po namin na magtawag ng isang meeting,” she said.
(You know what the matter with DOTC is, when you call for a hearing, all of a sudden they would have out-of-town trips or there would be a coinciding seminar or whatever other function they had to attend.)
Until now, however, Poe said, the escalators and other MRT facilities are still not functioning. CDG
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