The Battle Over MRT: DOTC Versus MRTC

There is a news that the government wants to take over Metro Transit Rail Line 3 (MRT 3) without clarifying what’s their real motive behind it. Are they doing this because they have already seen the sacrifices of the commuters every time they ride in MRT? Do they have an interest to improve its system or they just want to uplift the image of the President before he finish his term. Then, they would claim that this is one of his legacies.

The government didn’t abide their 1999 BLT agreement with MRT Corp. (MRTC). They agreed that the MRTC has the right to manage the MRT 3 and they own the responsibility to choose the contractor that could give them equipment supplies if they need it. Without any consultation, the government by-pass them, then now they have already a contract agreement with Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corp., this company from China won as a sole bidder. The government will buy them 48 rail coaches with a cost of 4.5 billion pesos. Does the additional train could enough to load thousands of passengers? Is that their only concerns? We knew that MRT 3 is facing a lot of problems besides overcrowding; security is an issue because there are many pickpockets roaming in the vicinity of MRT 3.  

Yes, it is true that MRT 3 has a lot of problems to be solved? But is this the way of the government to deal with their partners who handled a public transportation for 15 years? Of course, DOTC Secretary Joseph Abaya has a different answer to this question. Maybe he would say that this is about time to make a transformation in MRT 3. From being overcrowded they want the commuters to be comfortable when they are riding to their train.  How about the fare? Do they have still a plan to increase it? In previous months, we always hear from them that that the government is paying a higher subsidy for the commuters. Do they have a plan to make it a business instead of giving a public service?

Instead to take over the MRT 3, why they didn’t consider their partner MRT Corp. (MRTC)? Instead to control the whole operation, they should cooperate with them hand in hand. But it is already too late to consider this suggestion because they already made a decision. But before they could take over the MRTC 3, they have a big problem. MRTC filed a suit against the government in arbitration tribunal in Singapore. The government is boasting that it has nothing to do with their plan because some of the board members of MRTC are also government people. If this is true, why they didn’t solve the issue early?