Graft charges filed vs. ex-DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, 30 others

UNTV News   •   October 23, 2017   •   5658


MANILA, Philippines – The lawyers of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) filed a graft complaint before the office of the Ombudsman against former Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and several other former officials of the said agency.

The complaint stemmed from the alleged anomalous contract they entered into for the maintenance of the Metro Rail Transit or MRT-3.

Among those included in the complaint are former DOTC Undersecretary for Operations Erwin Lopez, Undersecretary for Planning and Head Negotiating team Rene Limcauco, Undersecretary for Procurement and Administration Catherine Jennifer Gonzales, former Assistant Secretary for Bids and Awards Committee Camille Alcaraz, former MRT-3 General Manager Roman Buenafe, and several officials of the Busan Universal Rails Incorporated (BURI).

Based on the 29-page complaint, the DOTr questioned the alleged P3.81-billion contract the then DOTC entered into with BURI, when in fact, the company if should had negotiated with was the Busan Joint Venture.

DOTr Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Atty. Reiner Yebra explains it is a clear violation of the Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act since the two companies are different.

“The Busan Joint Venture participated in the public bidding and it was whom the contract was awarded to however now, as presently, instead of forming a joint venture required by law what they did was they formed a special purpose company called BURI, we felt that in itself is anomalous or something irregular,” Yerba said.

The DOTr officials want Abaya and his co-accused explain why they entered such a transaction.

In a text message, Abaya said he has yet to receive a copy of the complaint but argued the contract they entered with BURI is in accordance with the procurement law.

Meanwhile, former MRT General Manager Roman Buenafe and BURI refused to give their sides regarding the allegations stated in the said complaint. – Joan Nano | UNTV News & Rescue

DOTr assures no toll fee increase to be implemented amid pandemic

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Tuesday assured motorists that there will be no toll increase on expressways amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said that he understands the clamor of tollway operators for increases in toll rates to generate needed revenue for operating expenditures.

However, Tugade explained that the DOTr, through the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), must uphold and protect the interest of the public, especially with the pandemic’s economic effects.

“Nakikita natin ang pangangailangan ng operators ng increases na iyan nang sa ganon, ang mga funding requirements nila ay maasikaso. Pero kailangan din ng tulong sa sambayanan, lalo’t higit tayo ay nasa pandemyang nangyayari ngayon,” He said.

“We need to strike a good balance. Ang pangangailangan ng mga investors, ang mga kakayanan ng publiko. Kailangan ibalanse iyan,” he added.

According to Secretary Tugade, considering the conditions imposed by the pandemic, the DOTr may approve toll rate hikes, but will definitely be implemented at a later date. AAC

 

DOTr relaunches service contracting program for PUV drivers

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines— The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Friday, September 10, relaunched the service contracting program (SCP).

The SCP aims to provide temporary livelihood to pandemic-displaced workers in the transportation industry as well as assist healthcare workers and Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs) with their daily commute to work through the “Libreng Sakay” program.

The initiative was approved under the Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

Under the program, public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and operators will receive performance-based incentives weekly— based on the number of trips made per week, whether they have a passenger or not.

Meanwhile, the government intends to implement service contracting as a regular program to provide sustainable livelihood to transport workers, with the end view of enhancing efficiency and quality of public transportation.

MRT-3, LRT-2, PNR extend free rides for vaccinated APORs as NCR reverts to MECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   September 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced that authorized persons outside residence (APORs) or those known as essential workers may still enjoy free train rides at MRT-3, LRT-2 and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) as the implementation of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila is extended until September 15.

However, the managements of MRT-3, LRT-2 and PNR remind APORs, that only those vaccinated may avail of the free rides, regardless if it is only their first dose or they are already fully vaccinated.

The schedule of free train rides for vaccinated APORs is as follows:

MRT-3
7:00 AM to 9:00 AM
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

LRT-2
5:00 AM to 7:00 AM
9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Philippine National Railways (PNR)
4:00 AM to 6:00 AM
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
7:00 PM onwards

To avail of the free ride, APORs must present their respective vaccination cards and valid IDs to the assigned security personnel at the station as proof.

Other credentials that may be presented include Certificate of Employment (COE); Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) ID; or company ID.

The DOTr reminds the public that only APORs are allowed to use the MRT-3 under MECQ.

Trains are operating at 30% passenger capacity which is equivalent to 124 passengers per train or a total of 372 persons per train set.

Passengers are reminded to observe the strict health protocols inside trains and train stations specifically the ‘7 Commandments’ against COVID-19:

1) Always wear a face mask and face shield;
2) No talking policy is applied at all times;
3) No eating;
4) Maintain proper ventilation in all public transportation;
5) Disinfect regularly;
6) Passengers showing symptoms of COVID-19 are not allowed to board;
7) Always observe appropriate physical distancing.

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