Ridon urges gov’t to scrap deal with MRTC over MRT-3 woes
In addition to the filing of charges against officials of the previous administration, government should also consider cancelling the lease agreement entered with the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC) over problems besetting the MRT-3 line, a convenor of an infrastructure-oriented think tank said.
Terry Ridon, convenor of InfraWatchPH, made the statement on Thursday as he stressed that government has been paying MRTC P2.7 billion a year in equity rental payments under the agreement signed in 1997.
Ridon, a former Kabataan Party list solon, also served as head of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP).
“Aside from several problematic maintenance contracts, at the center of the discussions should be whether government should finally cancel the lease contract with the MRTC and simply take-over the entire train system,” Ridon said in a statement.
“We welcome the resolve of President Rodrigo Duterte to finally get to the bottom of the fundamental problems of the MRT-3. This gives justice to the daily burden of half a million Filipinos risking life and limb riding the MRT-3,” he added.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque on Tuesday said Malacanang had ordered the Office of the Solicitor General to ready plunder cases against former transportation officials involved in the current state of the MRT-3 line.
Roque on Wednesday also revealed that whistleblowers have surfaced to help government expose alleged anomalous deals and contracts linked to the MRT-3 project.
Ridon noted that the 25-year deal placed the government in charge of the MRT-3 line’s daily operations while the MRTC handled the construction of the mass rail transit system in exchange for equity rental payments.
“it would be prudent for government to review whether we should wait until the end, or simply cancel the deal and undertake a takeover,” Ridon said.
“With government in full control of the MRT, it should be able to determine the best possible outcomes in restoring the MRT-3 with public interest as the most important consideration,” he added. /muf
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