Malacañang on Monday said Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade would remain in his post as transportation chief amid the series of problems besetting the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) system.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque explained that technical problems that plague the MRT-3 came from the previous administration.
“Ang mga problema po ay namana. At kami naman po ay nagmamasid at nag-oobserba sa mga hakbang na ginagawa ni Secretary Tugade (The problems were inherited. And we are observing the steps that Secretary Tugade is doing),” the Presidential spokesperson said in a Palace briefing.
Just last week, a passenger of the MRT-3 lost her right arm in a mishap at the Ayala Station. But in a positive turn of events, doctors successfully reattached her severed arm.
Two days after that incident, an MRT-3 coach was detached from the train body, leaving the train car along the tracks between Buendia and Ayala stations. This incident made at least 130 MRT-3 passengers walk along the rails.
Due to this, Representatives Gary Alejano of Magdalo party-list and Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis party-list on Saturday appealed for Tugade’s resignation for allegedly failing to address the MRT mess.
Regardless of this matter, Roque said Tugade will stay in his post, stressing that the time to remove Tugade from office has not yet come as he enjoys the full trust and confidence of the President.
“The President has said he will back up Secretary Tugade in whatever he may need to effect immediate reform of the MRT,” Roque added.
Tugade, for his part, says he turned down calls for his resignation despite being heavily criticized for MRT-3’s technical glitches.
The transport chief stressed that only the President can ask him to resign and that not all problems are addressed by resignation.
Meanwhile, transport officials said commuters can expect better service from the troubled MRT-3 in three to six months.