MANILA – The rehabilitation projects for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT 3) will be completed in 2017, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya on Monday said.
In a Senate hearing on the MRT3 issues, Abaya said while most of the rehabilitation projects will be finished in the next two years, the general train overhaul will be completed in June 2017.
”This year the general train overhaul has Php1.155 billion budget,” Abaya told the Senate committee on public services subcommittee chaired by Senator Grace Poe.
The projects set to be completed this year include: rail replacement by September; signalling system upgrade (September); radio communications upgrade (November); supply of traction motors (October); and, consulting services (April).
In 2016, the DOTC is set to finish the rehabilitation of ancillary system (April); supply of OCS road-rail vehicle (May); supply of grinding machine rail vehicle (2016); total replacement of signalling system, (October); and, conveyance facilities (January).
Poe urged Abaya to step up to the challenge of addressing the needed upgrade and rehabilitation of MRT while questioning the timing of the fare increase that took effect Jan. 4.
“Tragically though, the last two years have seen the fastest decline in maintenance and performance of the MRT. We should be able to step up to this challenge now,” Poe stressed.
Poe maintained that the MRT fare hike is ill-timed and implemented “not in accordance with political compassion.”
The lady senator, however, clarified that the Senate has no authority to compel the DOTC to bring back the fare rates to original maximum rate of Php15 from the present Php28.
”They (DOTC) have the authority. That’s why the job of the Senate is oversight and legislate laws that will help our commuters,” Poe said in a media interview.
She said only the Supreme Court (SC) can stop the fare hike.