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Presidential spokesperson draws flak on social media for MRT ride

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, November 24th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines – The social media was flooded with negative comments against Presidential Spokesperson Attorney Harry Roque.

This, after Roque’s MRT ride Thursday morning was featured live on the official Facebook page of the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson.

Many people said Roque’s action was an early show of campaign for the elections while some call Roque a ‘trapo’ or traditional politician, as they question his real intentions.

Like an ordinary passenger, Roque also tried to fall in line from MRT North Avenue Station and take his ride to Taft station in Pasay City, and then transferred to LRT.

During his train ride, he talked to the passengers and asked about their daily experiences taking the mass transport.

Roque’s train ride was supposedly like the other ordinary commuters but it appeared on social media that he was given a special treatment, with security guards were blocking some passengers to give way.

But Roque strongly denies such allegations, and insists that his ride experience was not scripted and no special treatment.

“Hindi po totoo yan, hindi alam ng DOTr kung nasaan ako at pinagalitan ko yung staff ko nung sinabi na nakipagkutchaba sila. Sabi ko, ‘That defeats the purpose kung kukuchaba tayo at magagalit yung mga mananakay,’ ” Roque said.

Based on his assessment, it is necessary to return the original number of operational trains to 20 to shorten the line of passengers and minimize inconveniences.

Meanwhile, Malacañang has rejected the request of Busan Universal Rails Incorporated (BURI) to have a dialogue with President Rodrigo Duterte.

“We have already cancelled the contract with BURI and the government decided to meanwhile take over the maintenance of MRT,” Roque said.

On Wednesday, Buri has made an appeal to President Duterte to give them a chance to explain their side and to let him know of the real status and the problems surrounding the operation of MRT 3. – Joan Nano | UNTV News & Rescue

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LRMC blames one passenger for causing the glitch in LRT-1 operation

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, November 29th, 2017


MANILA, Philippines – A video post of Jason Ibe is now viral on social media. It shows an LRT train with its doors open while running from Vito Cruz to Quirino station last Monday night.

The director for operations of the Light Rail Manila Corporation (LMRC), Rod Bulario, explained that one passenger attempted to get into the train at the Vito Cruz station by forcibly opening its door and causing it to malfunction.

“The passenger forced the door open to get inside. When the doors were about to close, the door the passenger activated couldn’t do so anymore. The sensor seemed to have been disturbed that it couldn’t detect the system, hence it remained open while the train was running,” he said.

Bulario added that the problem in the train was immediately addressed upon its arrival at the Quirino Station.

However, the passenger who allegedly caused the problem could no longer be found.

In a CCTV footage, the said passenger can be seen immediately leaving upon the train’s arrival at the Quirino station.

With this incident, the LRMC appeals to the public to not forcibly open the doors of LRT trains to avoid glitches in its sensors.

“Under normal conditions, the doors normally open. It has automatic train stop. But this case is isolated as the door was forcibly opened, disturbing the automatic train stop sensor,”  Bulario said.

The management of LRT admitted the trains are already old.

According to Bulario, these are set to undergo rehabilitation next year.

“We will have it undergo rehabilitation by January. We will rehabilitate these three trains just to be sure,” he said.

It can be recalled that a similar incident happened in LRT Line 1 over a year ago.

In March of 2016, a train ran with its doors open from the Central Station to the UN Avenue Station. – Rajel Adora | UNTV News & Rescue

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

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, October 23rd, 2017

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

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Implementation of new traffic scheme on Marcos Highway begins Wednesday

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 18th, 2017


MANILA, Philippines – In order to help ease the heavy flow of vehicles along this stretch of Marcos Highway, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)on Wednesday started the implementation of a new traffic management scheme, particularly starting in front of Robinsons Metro East Mall and Sta. Lucia East Mall in Marikina City.

If before, jeepneys were allowed to load and unload passengers in front of this mall, doing so now is prohibited.

All jeepneys and private vehicles that will unload or load passengers will have to take a right turn on the access road going to the back side of the Robinsons Mall.

Jeepneys will have to exit the road beside the Sta. Lucia Mall, and ply the stretch of Marcos Highway.

The new traffic management scheme aims to lessen the huge traffic problem in the area, especially during rush hour because jeepneys occupy almost the entire lane of the road in front of the mall.

The new scheme is expected to ease the heavy flow of vehicles in the area as the fourth lane of the highway is closed to traffic due to the ongoing construction of the LRT line two extension, and private vehicles can use only a single lane.

The MMDA has also set up fences in front of the mall so passengers could not attempt to violate the new traffic rule, and thus, wait for vehicles on the back of the mall.

Fifteen traffic law enforcers have been deployed in the area to manage the flow of vehicles and assist jeepneys plying the newly designated route.

MMDA will issue tickets to violators and order them to pay a fine of P650.

Erring passengers, on the other hand, will face jaywalking penalties.


The management of the mall, meanwhile, assured to put signages in front of the mall to remind motorists of the right direction.

“We’re just waiting for all the signages so that commuters will know where to go… where the direction is. When you go inside the mall, where you will go. All the signages are already there,” Robinsons Malls Director for Operations in Luzon Irving Wu said.

The local government officials also plan to open some alternate routes in Marikina City to ease the huge volume of vehicles plying the Marcos highway.

“We will use the interior streets inside Marikina as alternative route particularly for private vehicles. We saw 2 roads that can serve as alternate routes while the terminal of LRT is being constructed,” Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said.

Based on the estimates of the local government unit of Marikina City, the number of vehicles plying Marcos highway will be lessened by 60% once the new alternate routes are opened. – Joan Nano | UNTV News & Rescue

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