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DOTr urged to fix MRT as 2018 starts

The government is exploring available options for new maintenance and repair provider for the MRT-3. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando, File

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation should start the year by addressing the frequent breakdowns of the MRT-3, Sen. Grace Poe said.

Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services, said that the glitches of the MRT-3 in 2017 show that the train system is already on its "last leg."

The MRT-3 welcomed the year with another breakdown when it unloaded passengers at Guadalupe station on January 1 due to an electrical failure in the train's motor.

"The DOTr should start the year with urgency in addressing this problem, that might require extensive repair work rather than just regular maintenance," Poe said in a statement released Wednesday.

However, extensive repairs on the system would mean putting operations on hold without an alternative transportation for commuters, the senator added.

"Hopefully, the new year will give the DOTr the chance to start fresh and show us that it is a department that is capable of making better management and engineering choices and not politically driven decisions," she said.

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The DOTr earlier announced that it wants a new firm that will handle the maintenance and rehabilitation of the train system as early as April or May this year.

DOTr assistant secretary Timothy Batan said that the current maintenance works are no longer sufficient to serve the 500,000 passengers taking the MRT-3 daily.

The government held discussions with development partners in Japan, Singapore and France to explore available options for new maintenance and repair provider for the train system. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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