Wednesday, February 5, 2014

DOTC on MRT Capacity Expansion Project: We Will Defend The Interest Of Millions Of Passengers

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Following the Makati Regional Trial Court’s (RTC) issuance of a “Temporary Order of Protection” which essentially prevents government from adding coaches to the country’s most-heavily congested rail transit line, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has assured the Metro Rail Transit III (MRT-3) system’s more than 500,000 passengers that it will defend their interest in court to deliver the long-overdue Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) at the soonest possible time.

“We will fight for the interest of the hundreds of thousands of MRT-3 riders who have been waiting for more LRVs for too long. At the time when government is finally ready to deliver these projects, the public good is now being held hostage by a private company,” said DOTC Spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal.

The court order names the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC), which owns the MRT-3 facilities, and Metro Rail Transit Holdings II, Inc. (MRTH-II), one of its affiliated companies, as the petitioners for the Temporary Order of Protection.

However, a member of the MRTC Board of Directors has confirmed with the DOTC that the MRTC has no part in this issuance.

According to the Director, “the Board of MRTC never issued a resolution authorizing the filing of a case against DOTC to restrain the procurement of LRVs.”

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.

This 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 would have increased these to 4-car trains arriving every two-and-a-half (2.5) minutes.

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Transportation likewise convened today, 5 February 2014, to tackle the government’s rail transport concerns and programs. At the committee hearing, the DOTC reported that it is now preparing for the Makati RTC hearing scheduled on 7 February 2014 before Presiding Judge Joselito C. Villarosa.

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) will represent the DOTC at the hearing and will explain the need for the Project in light of the public good, as well as government’s position on the “Temporary Order of Protection.”

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