Press Release
November 23, 2017

Zubiri cites Chavez short stint at the DoTr

"I've always known resigned Usec. Cesar Chavez as a man of integrity and honor. His actions today further strengthened my belief that there are still men and women in government who put importance on delikadeza above personal interest and ambition. I'm sure the good Undersecretary tried his best to solve the problems of the MRT but the problems seem far greater than one man alone could carry. He believes that maybe someone else may help solve these problems hounding our Mass Transport system. I respect his decision and I salute him," Sen. Juan Miguel F. Zubiri

Zubiri said the "public had gone wary of the contracts on the rail system, the trains, the signaling system that transformed into an incomprehensible mess under different Administrations. These were also exacerbated by charges of corruption which until now have not been resolved or even just narrated objectively. Likewise, we don't expect to see the resolution any sooner of cases that have been filed against very high profile personalities including the Department honchos straddling several Administrations."

"Worse, even the government is hard pressed to find a willing and technically qualified partner in the massive rehab of the MRT system. The refusal of Sumitomo to rejoin the government in the MRT is so telling of the disappointment and disgust at the irregularities that preceded Cesar Chavez' short stint at the DoTr. The P3.8 Billion maintenance contract isn't attracting a number of investors from which government can choose the best."

"The President's talent scouts have a big big job for them. Persons with the caliber of Chavez ethics and missionary zeal is hard to find and, since he left a good mark on the DoTr, Malacañan should form a search committee to replace Cesar who took his job seriously."

"We only wish that aside from the financial viability of the MRT and the subsequent cleansing of the contracts, that the government's role as provider of a reliable, efficient and affordable mass transport system is realized. It is not a far stretch of the imagination that the pace of our trains will dictate the pace of our economic growth not just in Metro Manila but in the rest of the country."

Zubiri emphasizes his call for serious inter-agency efforts to once and for all craft a comprehensive, long-term, and sustainable plan for our railway system, including the rehabilitation of the MRT.

Zubiri noted that the miserable state of the Philippines' rail transport system had prevented the management, operators and government to charge a reasonable fare that will keep its finances afloat and return government's investment as well as those of the private partners.

"The new rail czar will have his hands full aside from having to fill the big shoes of Cesar. Public service should be the mantra of the person selected to replace Cesar."

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