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Senators urge change in bidding process for MRT maintenance system

by UNTV   |   Posted on Friday, November 17th, 2017


MANILA, Philippines — Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III is not buying the idea of stopping or suspending the operation of MRT Line-3 just to give way for assessment and repair works.

“The public will suffer once you close [the operation.] As I was telling you, the problem is with the maintenance. If the [provider] is diligent and the maintenance work is [always] in full blast, those errors would not happen,” said Sotto.

For his part, Senator Gringo Honasan believes that aside from failure in the maintenance system, another problem is the government’s poor bidding process which hinders it from getting high-quality and reliable services.

“The President is right when he said the bidding process is one of the mothers or the sister of corruption. You get the lowest [bid] but you sacrifice the quality,” said Honasan.

The two senators believe the current state of the MRT trains and services cannot be accounted to the present administration only or to transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.

“It’s a problem of cumulative errors in policy decisions. This is not the fault of a single administration,” said Honasan.

“He [Duterte] inherited a number of problems from the mismanagement of his predecessors,” said Sotto.

According to Sotto, the MRT problems are likely to be discussed in Senate once it resumes its deliberation on the request to grant emergency powers to the Duterte administration.

The proposed emergency power is now on second reading in the upper chamber of Congress. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

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DOTr eyes return of Sumitomo Corporation as MRT-3 maintenance provider

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, November 30th, 2017


MANILA, Philippines – The maintenance and rehabilitation work is expected to begin before the year ends.

There is huge chance that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) might bring back Sumitomo Corporation and its technical partner Mitsubishi heavy industries in the maintenance and rehabilitation of the Metro Rail Transit or MRT-3.

This has been the statement of the Department of Transportation or DOTr, Wednesday. It also assures the public that the government is doing its best to improve the services of MRT.

According to DOTr Assistant Secretary for Rails Timothy John Batan, Sumitomo Corporation is the first company being considered by the Transportation Department as the maintenance provider of the rail system.

“That’s part of the options the Department of Transportation is looking into. Because you know, that joint venture is the one that designed and built the MRT-3 in 1998 until 2000 and they are ones maintaining the MRT since 2000 until 2012,” Batan said.

The DOTr targets to get the services of the said company through government to government agreement and not by bidding.

Philippine Transport officials are currently coordinating with the Japanese Government regarding the matter. The agreement is expected to be signed before the year ends.

“The G2G agreement will pave way for the Official Development Assistance or ODA that can be used by the DOTr to look for a maintenance service provider.

The DOTr said the contract would also contain the rehabilitation of MRT so the trains could return to its original performance.

However, the Transportation Department has yet to determine the amount it will pay Sumitomo for its services.

Sumitomo was the maintenance provider of MRT in the first 12 years of its operation.

It was also the company that designed the MRT.

Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Investigation conducted another inspection earlier at the depot of MRT.

The inspection is in connection with the NBI’s investigation on the decoupling of coaches last November 16.

In the said inspection, MRT engineers showed NBI the system of attachment of trains. – Joan Nano | UNTV News & Rescue

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Malacañang expects swift legal proceedings against ex-gov’t officials responsible for MRT glitches

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: Passengers inside an MRT coach on a rush hour ride

MANILA, Philippines – Though there are issues between the Office of the Ombudsman and the Executive branch, Malacañang believes that the proceedings on the charges filed against former Cabinet officials allegedly involved in the questionable contract with the MRT maintenance provider will swiftly bring results.

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said it is possible that the ombudsman will immediately investigate on the matter because of frequent glitches affecting the riding public.

“I am hoping that because there are already formal complaints, the process will be fast. I understand the Ombudsman has the duty to investigate even on its own and even on the basis of anonymous complaints,” Roque said.

Aside from this, Malacañang added that DOTr is doing everything it can to rehabilitate and improve the services of MRT.

These include procurement of reliable service contractor, building of new rails, obtaining new train cars and signaling system.

Auditing within the MRT is also continuous to ensure the safety if the commuters.

“We’re crying for a solution and we’re crying for a quick solution and I’m sure that Secretary Tugade and Usec. Chavez are really taking all the necessary steps. You have to understand, this is also a legal quicksand with signed contracts,” said Roque.

Meanwhile, Roque plans to take a ride on MRT once a week to personally experience the MRT problems and complain to MRT management should he encounter one. – Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

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Senate expedites passage of proposed 2018 national budget, tax reform package

by UNTV   |   Posted on Friday, November 17th, 2017


MANILA, Philippines — The Senate went straight to deliberation of priority bills of the Duterte administration as soon as the session opened on Thursday.

The upper chamber of Congress targets to finish its deliberations on the proposed P3.7 trillion 2018 national budget before the December.

This despite the delay in the opening of session supposedly on November 13 to give way to the conduct of the ASEAN Summit.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III is confident that they will be able to pass the budget bill along with the proposed tax reform package of the administration before December 15.

“The budget amendment will be taken up, 20,21 [November] and possibly 22. If not then 22, 23 or if yes, 22 & 23 [November] will be devoted to the amendments of the train, the tax reform package. The week after that we can devote our time to other bills pending. Those are the two major pieces of legislation that we need to pass before the end of the year,” said Sen. Sotto.

During the opening of the session, the Senate first tackled the budget allocation to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The deliberation pressed on the Senate minority bloc’s questioning of the administration’s anti-illegal drug operation. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

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