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MRT ‘mistakes’ started in Roxas’ DOTC stint, say private owners

/ 02:41 PM February 16, 2016
MRT

Metro Rail Transit travels past the traffic jam along EDSA-Kamuning, Quezon City. EDWIN BACASMAS/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The management mistakes that led to the damages hounding the dilapidated Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 started during the term of administration standard-bearer Mar Roxas as then secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), MRT private owners said on Tuesday.

Reacting to allegations that the MRT private owners were only “playing politics” on their statements, MRT Holdings Chairman Robert John Sobrepeña said that the deteriorating state of the railway system resulted from the “inexcusable inaction” and “questionable actions” of the DOTC.

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“The first mistake of the DOTC that caused the damage to the MRT occurred when then Secretary Mar Roxas did not initiate bidding procedures in January 2012, the last time they renewed the Sumitomo contract,” Sobrepeña said in a statement.

Sobrepeña said Roxas should have initiated the bidding process way back in July 2011 “when they extended the Sumitomo contract for the third time or at least in January 2012 when the DOTC renewed the Sumitomo contract for the fourth and last time.”

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READ: MRT maintenance deal with Sumitomo extended

“A bidding process should commence in anticipation of the expiration of the current contract. Roxas should have already commenced the bidding process immediately and coordinated with MRT Corp. for approval when they extended the contract of Sumitomo not just once but twice when he was in office. Instead, they created what they call an ‘emergency,’ which was really not an emergency but a situation created by their inaction,” he added.

Sobrepeña said the department’s second mistake occurred was when it negotiated with PH Trams Inc. and questionably incorporated it as contractor on the same date it submitted its proposal. PH Trams’ contract was submitted last August 6, 2015, within Roxas’s term as secretary.

READ: Roxas mum on anomalous MRT contract; ‘It’s Ombudsman’s decision’

“How can you possibly accept a proposal from a company that incorporated on the date they proposed? How could they entrust the maintenance contract for a public utility worth hundreds of millions to a company with a paid up capital of only Php 600,000?” Sobrepeña said.

“DOTC OIC Rafael Santos, as Undersecretary of Operations, signed the Notice to Proceed in favor of PH Trams on Oct 19, 2012, before (DOTC Secretary Jun) Abaya signed the contract. And the final blow was when Sec. Abaya signed and gave finality to the PH Trams contract. The rest is tragic history,” he added.

The MRT Holdings chairman said the “prudent thing” to do was to disqualify PH Trams outright because “it was a newly formed company, undercapitalized and with no experience.”

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“This is a train, a mass transport that carries 600,000 people a day. You cannot be careless when it involves peoples’ live,” he said. RAM

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TAGS: Department of Transportation and Communications, DoTC, Mar Roxas, Metro Rail Transit, MRT
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