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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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MRT-3 to temporarily suspend operation from March 28 to April 1

by UNTV   |   Posted on Saturday, March 17th, 2018


MANILA, Philippines — The Metro Rail Transit Line-3 (MRT-3) will not operate for five days during the Holy Week.

Based on the advisory of the MRT-3 management, there will be no operations from March 28 to April 1.

This is to pave way for maintenance activities for the trains and facilities.

Its operations will return to normal on April 2, Monday. — UNTV News & Rescue

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Lawmakers eye creation of disaster dep’t to fast track gov’t programs

by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

(Left-Right) Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Sen. Gringo Honasan

MANILA, Philippines — The oversight committee on the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 has questioned the slow implementation of programs and rehabilitation efforts in affected areas of Zamboanga siege and super typhoon Yolanda last 2013.

According to Sen. Gringo Honasan, until now there are still displaced families in Tacloban City and even in Zamboanga.

Because of the seemingly slow implementation of government programs, Sen. Panfilo Lacson believes it is high time to establish a department that will focus on disaster management.

“Na-experience ko ito noong nasa Yolanda ako, na wala kaming ginawa kundi mag-meeting and very short sa implementation. Kung meron talagang lead agency that will assume all responsibility at least yung implementation mapapabalis,” said Lacson.

(I experienced this during Yolanda wherein we did nothing but conduct meetings and very short implementation. If there could be a lead agency that will assume all responsibility, at least the implementation would be faster.)

Some government line agencies support the said proposal.

“There should be a form of unitary command that will deal with disasters,” Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Asec. Kristoffer James Purisima said.

“Ang major coordinator ngayon ay (the major coordinator is the) Office of Civil Defense. Definitely kailangan silang palakasin (we need to strengthen it). Kailangang dagdagan ng tao (we need to add more people),” said Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) officer-in-charge Usec. Renato Solidum Jr.

To date, a bill creating an agency or department on disaster management is being undertaken by the technical working group in the Lower House.

Lacson said he will push for the passage of its counterpart bill in the Senate.

If this will become law, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and OCD will eventually be abolished. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue






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Malacañang mulls filing new raps vs ex-DOTC execs over MRT-3 anomalies 

by UNTV   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 6th, 2018


FILE PHOTO: An MRT train in depot

MANILA, Philippines — Aside from his previous order to file plunder complaints against nine former officials of the past administration on the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line-3 maintenance deal, President Rodrigo Duterte has also directed Solicitor General Jose Calida to look further into the matter for possible charges that can be filed against other personalities who were responsible for the current mess the said mass transit is in.

Plunder charges have been filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against former Transporation Secretary Jun Abaya and former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas.

“I know there was already a case filed for BURI [Busan Universal Rail Inc.] but there could be other cases filed as well. There could be other new ones because apparently, the problem lies not just with BURI but the problem lies with the current owners of MRT-3,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

With this development, the government is looking for a long-term solution to the said MRT-3 woes.

Based on what was discussed at Monday’s 23rd Cabinet meeting of President Duterte, this long-term solution comes in the form of arranging for a new owner of the MRT-3.

This is aside from the ones in charge of the maintenance and operation.

“The ownership of MRT-3 is a private corporation. So they are thinking of changing the owners because we’ve had many problems with the current owners,” said Roque.

Currently, the private company Metro Rail Transit Corporation owns MRT-3.

Another long-term solution that the government is looking into is the procurement of all necessary spare parts, and entering into a new contract with the MRT-3’s original maintenance contractor, Japan’s Sumimoto Corporation. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue