MANILA – Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya clarified that the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) did not have a policy of issuing ‘excuse slips’ for employees who showed up late for work after encountering a Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) train breakdown.
Abaya stated that the DOTC had already been issuing ‘incident reports’ whenever MRT-3 trains malfunction. The reports indicated the date, time, location of and causes of the delays of trains. The department, however, planned to stop issuing such reports.
“Historically, MRT has issued incident reports – not excuse letters or slips – for those who have asked, but not on the scale of hundreds at any one time. No such policy now and we plan to halt … any issuances even [on] a small scale,” Abaya said in a Philippine Daily Inquirer report.
In place of the incident reports, the DOTC has been planning of posting notices on its website whenever MRT suspends and resumes operations. They were also planning of updating the public on the number of trains operating at a particular time.
“That way, employees and employers can just check websites if indeed there were incidents, and also to show transparency on the number of trains running hourly,” Abaya said.
“People deserve to know what problems occurred, anything that could cause a stoppage from a broken rail to air-conditioning that stopped working,” DOTC spokesperson Michael Sagcal said in a wire report.
At present, MRT-3’s CCTV cameras can be accessed online. These cameras showed the departure and arrival of trains per station. Conversely, out of 20 trains, only seven has been operating daily as the other units are in dire need of maintenance. The department had already stated that issues in the train system were being addressed.
But while the DOTC is yet to coordinate with its IT department for the notices, the department will still continue issuing incident reports ‘to any requesting member of the general public for whatever useful purposes this may serve, in line with the policy of transparency’ for the meantime.