Reopen MRT-3 train probe, Senate urged

Marc Jayson Cayabyab - The Philippine Star
Reopen MRT-3 train probe, Senate urged
Senator Raffy Tulfo.
STAR / Mong Pintolo

MANILA, Philippines —Sen. Raffy Tulfo has sought to reopen the Senate investigation on the 48 Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) unused Dalian trains.

Tulfo, as the Senate’s new public services committee chair, inspected the MRT-3 depot along North Avenue, Quezon City on Tuesday to check on the trains purchased from Chinese manufacturer Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. for P3.8 billion.

“The 48 Dalian train sets are left unused gathering dust after these China-made trains were delivered in 2017,” Tulfo said in Filipino.

Tulfo accused the previous Aquino administration of being aware of the incompatibilities but still pushing through with the Dalian train contract.

“Cases were filed before the Ombudsman but these were dismissed. A different criminal case should be filed to avoid double jeopardy,” Tulfo said.

Tulfo said train maintenance costs P2 billion each year if the government pushes through with using the Dalian trains.

He urged the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to renegotiate the contract, return the trains and demand a refund.

Tulfo said he would reopen the investigation when session resumes after the break.

Sen. Grace Poe, as then public services committee chair, investigated the issue in 2017 after it was found that the Dalian trains could not be used because of incompatibility and weight issues.

Three Dalian train cars were deployed for an initial trial run in 2019. A Dalian train set was also deployed for the MRT-3 free rides program in 2022.

In its annual 2022 report, the Commission on Audit flagged the 48 Dalian light rail vehicles (LRVs) as being unoperational since being procured by the DOTr for P3.759 billion.

Of the 48 Dalian LRVs, only nine were provisionally accepted, of which two were still “nonfunctional” because these still needed wheel truing.

“The Dalian trains procured eight years ago remain idle and not operational due to non-completion of the proposed way-forward plan as well as the testing, commissioning and final acceptance of the LRVs, thereby depriving the riding public of the benefits of a more comfortable transportation system,” the audit report read.

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