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Sunday, February 9, 2014

DOTC: MRTH-II Must Explain Why It Has Not Improved MRT-3


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Reacting to a statement issued by Metro Rail Transit Holdings II, Inc. (MRTH-II) last Friday, 7 February 2014, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is demanding that the company explain to the public why it has not improved services at the MRT-3 system, despite the badly-needed addition of Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) for many years.

“MRTH-II owes us all an explanation. If they admit to having the responsibility for adding LRVs to the MRT-3 line, why haven’t they done anything all these years? Instead, they have forced MRT riders to suffer for so long,” said DOTC Spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal.

In the statement, MRTH-II claimed to own 100% of the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC), which owns the facilities of MRT-3. As owner of MRTC, MRTH-II claimed that it has the right to add LRVs to the MRT-3, not the DOTC. It even said this can be done in a timely manner.

While the MRTC Board of Directors has denied authorizing the filing of the suit to stop the addition of train coaches, MRTH-II filed the case in its capacity as shareholder or owner of MRTC.



“With MRTH-II’s admission of its faults and shortcomings, it should be obvious to all of us that the DOTC must be allowed to go ahead with the project, rather than leave it in the hands of MRTH-II. Public interest is at stake,” Sagcal added.

The DOTC awarded the MRT-3 Capacity Expansion Project to China’s Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Company on 16 January 2014. Under the contract, Dalian is supposed to construct and deliver forty eight (48) new LRVs to the MRT-3 line over the next three (3) years.

Before the court stopped the project, the DOTC managed to secure Dalian’s assurance that it would exercise all efforts to complete the delivery of all 48 LRVs with two (2) years, ahead of the 3-year period allowed in the contract.

The Temporary Order of Protection issued by the Makati Regional Trial Court, however, prevents the DOTC and Dalian from starting work within this timeline. This prolongs further the suffering that MRTH-II is forcing upon the passengers.

Once it is allowed to push through, the Project will result in significant improvements to the railway’s services. From its current operation of 3-car trains arriving every three (3) minutes, the Project will increase these to 4-car trains arriving every two-and-a-half (2.5) minutes.

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