DOTC gets P2.5 B for MRT upgrade, repairs
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - September 12, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has allocated P2.584 billion for the repair and upgrade of the country’s light rail systems, a Palace official said yesterday.

In a press briefing, Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya was tasked to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety and reliability of the mass transport service provided by Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 and Light Rail Transit 1 and 2.

Coloma said P1.156 billion would be used for the overhaul and repair of 28 cars, P870 million for upgrading power substations and ancillary systems, P184.7 million for upgrading the signaling system and computer software, P110 million for upgrading radio communication systems, P119.5 million for replacement of old rail tracks, P94.5 million for replacement of traction motors and P50 million for upgrading and replacement of elevators and escalators.

Coloma said procurement of goods and services are either ongoing or will start next month. The DOTC said most of the projects would be fully implemented in 2015.

He said Abaya also informed the President about the delivery of 48 new coaches starting September 2015 to increase the capacity of MRT 3 by 66 percent and improve headway (gap between trains) to 2.5 minutes.

Inekon deal

In a related development, Coloma said they have yet to verify reports that the National Bureau of Investigation has finished its probe on the alleged anomalous deal with Inekon wherein some MRT officials were accused of extortion.

“We will need to verify with DOJ (Department of Justice). We have no update on that yet,” he said.

He debunked claims that corruption allegations under the Aquino administration are being swept under the rug.

Publicity stunt

Meanwhile, a consumers’ group criticized the government’s response to issues regarding MRT 3, and called on officials to focus on overhauling the system instead of engaging in a publicity stunt.

“Our leaders have to focus on the real problem. It’s frustrating that there are officials who resort to PR stunts to show the public they’re doing something to address the problem, even if these proposals don’t really address the MRT’s ills,” National Coalition of Filipino Consumers spokesman Oliver San Antonio told reporters in Manila.

He cited proposals to replace the maintenance contractor even though performance indicators, such as train availability, removals and service interruptions show that the contractor has performed better than its predecessors.

He said proposals to blacklist the current maintenance contractor “make little sense.”

“They’re finger-pointing at each other, at who should have done this remedy and that solution. The blame game is in full force. In the meantime, we’re still vainly waiting for immediate solutions to the public’s everyday ridership hardships,” San Antonio said.

The public could not wait for the arrival of new trains in 2015, he added. –With Edu Punay

 

COLOMA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE INEKON LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT METRO RAIL TRANSIT NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION NATIONAL COALITION OF FILIPINO CONSUMERS OLIVER SAN ANTONIO PRESIDENT AQUINO SAN ANTONIO
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