Press Release
May 15, 2017

Transcript of Sen. Grace Poe's closing remarks
At the MRT Hearing

In today's hearing of the Senate committee on public services, we discussed Senate Resolution No. 304 and SRN 355 which I filed about the dismal maintenance of trains leading to frequent breakdowns and the purchase of Dalian trains for the MRT3 capacity expansion project.

Engr. Deo Leo Manalo, director for operations of MRT3, told this committee that the elevated railway system is operating 20 trains and can handle 17,000 passengers per direction and about 500,000 total number of passengers per day.

The MRT-3's timetable is that by June, two 3-car Dalian trains will be added during off-peak hours. By December, a total of five 3-car Dalian trains will be in operation.

In April next year, it can handle about 700,000 passengers per day, so that's an additional 200,00, and by 2019, 800,000 passengers, so an additional 300,000 passengers.

Sa kasalukuyan, ang kaya ng MRT-3 ay 20 trains during peak hours. We were told that if we run more trains, we need more power--of which we are already addressing the issue. Additional power will be completed in November and the MRT-3 assured that by December pwede nang magdagdag ng trains.

As regards the maintenance contract awarded to Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI), a consortium composed of Busan Transportation Corp., Edison Development & Construction, Tramat Mercantile Inc., TMI Corp. and Castan Corp., BURI's spokesman Atty. Charles Mercado said firms in the consortium have enough experience in trains. Their three-year maintenance contract is until January 2019.

BURI claims they restored 10 cars on its first month. By July, they restored another 10 cars and by end-2016 they restored 6 more cars.

In 2004, there were 497 recorded glitches. In 2009, 2,199 glitches and in 2014, 2,514 glitches. By the end of 2016, there were 2,701 glitches under the current maintenance provider.

One of the reasons for the delay in overhauling is the original equipment manufacturers--there is no production of old equipment. BURI also recommends speed restrictions and replacement of tracks.

BURI's Atty. Mercado said delay in overhauling was beyond their control. He added there is a provision in the current maintenance contract "for re-scheduling of delivering of overhauled trains and our proposed rescheduled proposal was not acted upon by DOTr." He says if their proposed rescheduling was not acted upon, it is deemed approved. But again, Engr. Manalo said he has not received the letter and Atty. Cabrera still has to verify all of this. I hope all of you talk more often because once the office receives it, whether the it's in the boss' hand or not, that's deemed received, I mean legally.

Atty. Hernando Cabrera said there is a need to assess and evaluate BURI without comparing them with previous maintenance providers. You will have to compete with yourself, basically, hindi yung kasi dati yung Sumitomo ganito or yung APT, etc.

Sen. Drilon said public service is the primordial concern here. He was concerned about the plan to terminate some parts of the contract and indicated that drastic acts of terminating contracts will result in more problems.

We asked why the signalling system was not tested before trains came in. MRT-3 said they cannot test the trains in China because they needed to test the compatibility in the existing system.

Ang maayos na serbisyo sa daan-daang libong pasahero ng MRT araw-araw ang pinakamahalaga sa usaping ito. Hindi biro ang napakahabang pila mula sa pagpasok sa istasyon, iba pa ang pila sa pagbili ng tiket, hanggang sa pagsakay mismo sa tren, na kadalasan ay napakainit sa loob dahil sira ang aircon o walang lamig na lumalabas mula rito. Dapat matapos na ang kalbaryong dinaranas...

Kahit palitan natin nang ilang beses ang maintenance provider at dagdagan ng bagon ang MRT-3, kung hindi naman maitatama ang umiiral na sistema. The safety of the riding public is the most important thing here. Dapat magkaroon ng pananagutan sa kasalukuyang sitwasyon ng ating mass transit system.

Altough we thank Sec. Abaya for attending the hearing, his reasons seem to be "I don't know the details of the negotiations that were done and all I did was sign (when he came in); not signing the contract would have meant stopping the trains," clearly, he's saying it's not his fault... your job is not to cover up for the past mistakes...your primary job...(is) to make sure that the Filipino taxpayers are given the proper service. Maybe it's true that these things were already in place and you wanted a smooth transition, but in the very beginning, it should have been made clear who was responsible for all of these.

Initially, Sumitomo had the contract it was repeatedly extended, just when it was about to expire, we needed already a maintenance provider, was the time you told MRTC to do the biddig which was already at the time too late.

I would also like to investigate further the involvement of Marlo dela Cruz. I feel that it is a bit suspect that ang isang kumpanya na iilan lang buwan pa lamang, wla ka pa noon Sec. Abaya pero sana umpisa pa lang noon sinabi mo na, hindi nga magaling kasi yan e pero nanalo pa ulit ng isa pang kontrata. Ilang buwan pa lang ang kumpanyang yan, nanalo na ng bid. Hindi makabili ng Toyota Vios pero nagmemaintain ng ating train. Makikita mo talaga na meron sigurong problema sa ating batas na kailangang ayusin, at kayo namang mga eksperto dyan, sana nagkaroon pa kayo ng mas konting malasakit na "teka muna, nakakapasa nga ito pero mukhang di naman nila kaya itong trabahaong ito." Sana magkaroon tayo ng ganoon. Pero lessons learned, maybe next time you will be more proactive...

This hearing is suspended, we will have another hearing, this time with Al Vitangcol, Sec. Tugade and the others....

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