MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe on Sunday said that the public is still waiting for the better services of the glitch-ridden Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) by the end of this month.
During a radio interview, Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services, said that the public is already “bored” while waiting for the fulfillment of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to their promise of improved services of the MRT-3.
“For what they say as by the end of February, the suffering of the passengers will ease after the arrival of parts they ordered, we are all bored waiting. Perhaps the deadline set for Sec. Tugade is his promise of by February, the situation in MRT will be better after the parts arrive,” Poe said.
Earlier, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade vowed for the improvement in service of MRT as brand-new spare parts for train system begin arriving.
However, data from the MRT 3 management revealed that an average of only 297,000 passengers chose to use the train from Jan. 24 to Feb. 1, lower by 35 percent than last year’s daily average of 463,000 passengers.
The government is currently maintaining the MRT after it canceled its contract with previous maintenance contractor, Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI) for being “remiss” in its contractual obligations to procure sufficient spare parts for the trains.
Poe said that the public has yet to see improved services even as the DOTr had promised better services to thousands of MRT commuters.
Poe then urged the DOTr to fast-track actions for a reliable and efficient maintenance provider for the upkeep of the MRT.
“They’ve been telling us that by December of 2016, the service will be better. They keep on extending with the use of different reasons,” the lady senator said.
“That’s really urgent. But of course, they also need a leader. They need a head who will tell them what to do, what to order, and what to watch,” she added.
Poe also called on the Ombudsman to rush criminal cases against former Transportation Sec. Joseph Emilio Abaya for entering into supposed “disadvantageous” contracts over the unusable MRT trains and the inefficient former maintenance provider.
The lady senator said she is also keen to draft another committee report to discuss in detail the accountability of Abaya and former Transportation officials on the MRT mess.
“We don’t want revenge. We only want accountability,” Poe said.