MANILA— The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Tuesday said that it plans to have the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) managed by the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) since it is only being managed by a project management office.
LRTA manages the Light Rail Transit-2 (LRT-2) that runs from Santolan to Recto.
It also supervises the Light Rail Manila Corp (LRMC), the private operator and maintenance contractor of the LRT-1 that runs from Baclaran to Roosevelt.
In the second Senate hearing into the MRT-3 problems, DOTr Undersecretary for Rails and Toll Roads Cesar Chavez said that aside from the problematic contracts, the organizational structure of the MRT-3 was a problem itself.
Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, asked Chavez if the solution to preventing the frequent MRT-3 breakdowns was privatization to which he affirmed, but noted that it is “not enough”.
“Privatization is not enough. Ang organization muna ng MRT-3 ang dapat ayusin (The organization of the MRT-3 should be addressed first),” Chavez said.
Chavez acknowledged that Filipino-Korean joint venture Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI), the MRT-3’s current maintenance provider, performed better than previous maintenance providers but also said that it was “not enough.”
He mentioned that BURI is expected to perform yearly rail grinding to prevent rusting of tracks but said that the company did not do it well. It also failed to implement general overhaul to prevent derailment problems.
The transport official further said that BURI did not purchase spare parts which were needed.
He said that the best move to make was to terminate its maintenance contract with BURI, however, did not elaborate when or how this would be done.
“Ang position namin, ang maintenance ay dapat i-terminate. Wala nang mas matinding ebidensya kesa sa araw-araw na nahihirapan ang mga pasahero (There is no better evidence than the daily plight of our passengers),” Chavez said.
The hearing into MRT-3 problems is ongoing as of posting time.