Lawmakers urge DOTC to act promptly on LRT, MRT operations, maintenance issues

By , on March 13, 2015

LRT Train (Invest Philippines)
LRT Train (Invest Philippines)

MANILA — Amid the general outcry of commuters in Metro Manila on the defective Metro Rail Transit (MRT) system and the recent fare increases in the MRT and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system, several lawmakers advised the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) on Wednesday to immediately address several operations and maintenance issues on the country’s transit system.

Metro Manila Development Committee Chair and Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo and Transportation Committee Chair and Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento conducted a dialogue on the Metro Manila Transportation Plan with Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya as the primary resource person.

During the briefing, ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Samuel Pagdilao urged Abaya to be decisive in dealing with the rehabilitation, upgrade, and maintenance of the MRT-3.

Pagdilao also suggested to consider the matter as an emergency situation to address the issue right away.

However, Abaya said such matter involved intricate process and compliance with the government policies is necessary.

Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, meanwhile, asked the DOTC to present its plans on the short- and long-term solutions with regards to the concerns on the poor performance of the MRT-3 system maintenance provider.

Abaya said they continue to look for a company to replace the present maintenance provider.

He explained that the DOTC already conducted two procurement processes for a new maintenance provider but without success.

The first bidding, said Abaya, failed because the five initially interested entities did not submit their procured bidding documents after disagreeing with the rule on penalizing the maintenance provider for unsatisfactory service, reasoning out that it would be difficult to follow the particular policy in maintaining a 15-year-old transit system.

Abaya added that no one acquired a bidding document on the second procurement process.

With this, Abaya said they are now considering the negotiated form and emergency procurement as their alternatives in choosing a maintenance provider.

Meanwhile, representatives from the Metro Rail Transit Holdings, Metro Pacific Investment Corporation, and the Commbuilders and Technology Philippines Corporation, who were present in the briefing, expressed their interest and proposed their plan to handle the operations and management of the MRT system.

Sarmiento asked the DOTC to speed up their evaluation on several proposals from different companies who expressed their interest on the MRT system maintenance provider’s post.

Furthermore, Erice asked the DOTC to provide the cost and the quality analyses in the facilities of the MRT-3 to address the inquiry on proper appropriations of the budget allotted to the department from the 2015 General Appropriations Act and the 2014 supplemental budget.

OFW Party-list Rep. Johnny Revilla, on the other hand, questioned the decision of the DOTC on the unpaid bills they owe the Global APT Co., their existing maintenance provider for several months.

Abaya said the course of payment involves a two-way process in which they need to receive the assessment of fees from the Global APT that they earlier asked for a re-bill to include reductions on the fee as penalty for the violation of contract before they are paid.

Meanwhile, ANGKLA Party-list Rep. Jesulito Manalo encouraged Abaya to strengthen the technical capability of DOTC to appropriately handle such failures in the system.

“I think your leadership should now make it very apparent to the public that we’re making concrete steps by getting the right men, and let’s not leave this [concern] to the next administration to be inherited. If we came to this problem six years ago and it was not solved, let’s end it with the right people. I think the secretaryshould be given a free hand to recruit people to help the DOTC. There must be something definite and concrete that we’re willing to bring our heads out and that Congress will support,” said Manalo.

He suggested that the DOTC budget for next year should include all positions of technical people, especially engineers, to prevent business people from capitalizing at the expense of the government’s inability to solve technical problems in the transport system.

“This is above politics because the commuters are suffering, and I always say to the transport committee that the quality of this country depends on the public transport system. The transport systems: MRT and LRT, are not for the poor. These should be for everyone because if these become convenient for everyone, we will leave our cars and ride those things. That might actually alleviate the traffic,” added Manalo.

  • Suggestions for DOTC Secretary are development and maintaining the Railways. Expert for maintaining the rail and other maintenance people must be recruited together with the yearly budget. Commuter need immediate solution for the MRT3 problem.

  • SnakeCatcher

    DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya’s Department made a gigantic response from every
    sector of the Philippine society. It created much disappointment to some opposition leaders, train commuters, some Senators and even ordinary Filipino citizens. This means that MRT3 management must pursue the excellence of the railway.

  • KingKong

    With the present situation of rail system and while the government unilaterally
    raised metro train fares by 50-80 percent, with no upgrade in service or
    facilities. The DOTC must accept this unsolicited proposal by other companies.

  • Dracula

    The DOTC is looking for maintenance provider, for the nth time that could help the MRT3 operations run smoothly to replace Global-APT (Global Epcom and Autre Porte Technique), the present maintenance company. Likewise, the same thing had happened on Oct. 28, 2014, in the first bidding. The LRT-1 bidding failed earlier, Oct. 24. So did the one for LRT-2 only last Dec. 23.

  • Werewolf

    DOTC invited firms to bid for the supply and delivery of 60 units of traction
    motor for the MRT-3 system Czech-made RT8D5M light rail vehicles (LRVs) worth
    P91.7 million. Interested bidders are required to have completed a single
    contract similar to the project within the last 20 years and with a value of at
    least 50 percent of the project cost.

  • VampireLover

    The consulting firm would provide assistance and guidance in all matters pertaining to operations and maintenance of the MRT3 and Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA). The consultant would also extend assistance in the conceptualization, implementation, and procurement of any and all programs and projects for MRT3 in an effort to provide a safe, reliable, efficient, convenient, affordable, and efficient mass rail transit system.

  • Werewolf

    This is the best suggestions by lawmakers for DOTC to act promptly and immediately. The results give way to the good maintenance and services of the Metro Railway. Much development is needed for the concerned people of MRT3.

  • Dracula

    The DOTC Secretary, together with the government of Pnoy Administration believed the political will to survive even when worst comes to worst for the Philippine
    governance. And this suggestion likewise is good for the commuters.

  • KingKong

    The failure to match fare adjustments with increasing operating costs caused by
    inflation have resulted in practically break-even finances for all three lines. In turn, this crippled their ability to invest in large-scale improvements for their facilities, since revenues have only been enough for day-to-day operational requirements.

  • SnakeCatcher

    Before the signing of 2015 budget, Secretary Emilio Abaya was very much alive with his planned strategies on how to tackle MRT3 problems and continued to move forward with his leadership for the good of the commuters. While at the same time,
    never had a wink of giving MRT Holdings its proposition for business unification. Even the Senate cannot twisted his firmed ways to solve this gigantic problem of the MRT3 drama that buyout was the only option.

  • SpyKiller

    Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya surprised all concerned leaders, media people, news companies and citizens of the Philippines, that for the past months, he was very much alive with his planned strategies on how to tackled MRT3 problems and continued to move forward with his leadership for the good of the commuters.