Tuesday, October 07, 2014

MRT Underlying Problems: Which Holds Water?

The Philippine Senate has stepped into the MRT's poor performance due to the recent squabble with the Department of  Transportation and Communications (DOTC) head and with MRT Chief in a hearing called for. The following could be some of the underlying factors which may be the cause or causes based on the Senate hearing, and which among them, you may consider as the culprits:

1. Failure of communication

The Senators who investigated the sorry state of MRT have found out that there was a miscommunication. The MRT and DoTC are having a gap, a communication gap for that matter. But Joseph Emilio "Jun" Abaya of DOTC insisted that they didn't have any miscommunication for they're in "constant contact" with each other especially MRTC Chairman De Leon and declared that DOTC is not obligated to contact MRTC's private sector representative.

2. DOTC Failure to Act on New Trains Purchase

Roberto Sobrepeña disclosed that MRTC has informed DOTC on the proposal to buy a new railway cars for in 2004, but DOTC failed to act it favorably. In fact, MRTC has told DOTC four times, but not action taken.

3. Maintenance Issue

The maintenance issue is believed to be the root cause of the Problem which the MRTC and DOTC is facing recently. It has been noted that in 2012, the DOTC stopped the maintenance contract with Sumitomo Corporation. And eventually it resulted to what is now the "fingerpointing" of whose is responsible. Poor maintenance is evident due to lack of maintenance which Sumitomo Corporation had been doing it.

4. Increase of Maintenance Fee

DOTC Abaya disclosed that they've to terminate the contract with Sumitomo due to an increase of service rates for train maintenance. The rates were raised from $1.4 million a month to $2 million. For such reservation of Sumitomo, Abaya said they've to replace Sumitomo with PH Trams in 2012 for the work has no guarantee of maintaining the system.

5. Limited Train Maintenance

Sen. Grace Poe, chairman of the Senate subcommittee hearing on MRTC/DOTC Squabble has put it plainly that “maintenance” should not be confined to clean the trains or to sweep the floors of the stations, but the safety and the reliable performance of the train while it is running with a minimum maintenance cost.

6. Government Takeover

A conflicting remedy seems to crop up when President Aquino signed Executive Order No. 126 in March 2013, authorizing the DOTC and the Department of Finance to purchase the MRT3. To this effect, the Department of Budget and Management set aside P56 billion ($1.3 billion) in the 2014 national budget for the complete government takeover. The reason is billions of pesos are saved from the 15-percent return on investment guaranteed to MRT Corp.

7. Breach of Contract

It has been reported that the government has already ordered 48 new coaches from China without the consent of MRTC. This is, according to report, is in violation of the Build, Lease, Transfer (BLT) agreement.

8. The Winner?

It is disgusting for nobody wins. No one will stand up and be firm, and accept the fault or the shortcomings. Nothing beneficial has to achieve. Everyone loses especially the riding public. Do you agree?

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