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Philippine Coast Guard,

A HOUSE leader on Tuesday urged Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to come up with measures to  ensure that the services of Metro Rail Transit Line 3 will not deteriorate after he terminated the P3.8-billion maintenance contract of Busan Universal Railways Inc. or BURI.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said the Transport Department must present to Congress a viable alternative to BURI.

“DOTr should show and convince the public that  MRT 3 will not further deteriorate its services without a maintenance provider,” Evardone said. 

“Now that BURI  has vowed to question the termination  in court, the legal tussle between the two parties might drag on for months or years, which may put  MRT 3 services in jeopardy.”

Evardone stressed the need for Congress to pass the bill sponsored by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez that seeks to establish a single regulatory body for all mass transit facilities.

“Hopefully, the termination is not designed to just ease out BURI and replace it with a favored maintenance provider,” Evardone said.

Evardone also raised questions over the fact that the government will, in the meantime, take over the maintenance of MRT 3. 

“The question is: One, are there competent technical people that can immediately take over the maintenance of MRT 3? Second, how long can the government procure all the necessary parts needed to maintain MRT 3 given the very tedious procurement process under Republic Act 9184, or the procurement law?” Evardone said.

“I hope that the DOTr  will be able to allay these fears and convince the public that, with the termination of the maintenance contract, the MRT 3 services will substantially improve to alleviate the plight of the riding public. I still maintain that the best option is to totally privatize MRT 3 to make it more efficient.”

Rep. Jericho Nograles said BURI was lying through its teeth in claiming that the MRT 3 breakdowns and glitches were caused by the system’s old and dilapidated train rails. 

“Don’t blame it on the rails! BURI should stop singing Milli Vanilli’s  ‘Blame it on the Rain’ and admit their own incompetence,” Nograles said.

“You cannot blame the rails for the missing parts, the fire incidents, the aircon failure, the door jamming, the overpriced services, the fake parts and many others.

“While the rails may have something to do with some of the breakdowns, most of those were the result of incompetence, lack of foresight and maybe even sabotage.” 

Nograles said BURI should not have agreed to the terms of the contract requiring it to rehabilitate and ensure the smooth operation of MRT3 if it was not sure it could deliver.

Nograles said BURI also could not blame the condition of the rails for its failure to deliver its commitment to rehabilitate the 43 train coaches that were left rotting at the MRT3 main depot. Out of the 26 coaches that were supposed to have been rehabilitated as scheduled, none have been delivered completely by BURI. 

Rep. Ariel Casilao said the government must take over MRT 3. 

“The government should really consider the takeover of the operation of MRT. It is the duty and obligation of the state to provide safe and affordable public transportation,” Casilao said. 

Topics: DoTr , Busan Universal Railways Inc , MRT-3
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