Ex-DOTr officials face Senate probe over ‘unusable’ MRT coaches

MANILA-- Former Transportation officials will be invited to a Senate probe into the unusable PHP3.8-billion coaches of the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3), Sen. Grace Poe said Wednesday.

Poe made this remark in filing Senate Resolution No. 355 which seeks to look into the newly delivered coaches built by Chinese manufacturer Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) deemed the coaches inoperative because the coaches were incompatible with its signaling system.

To be invited are former Transport Sec. Joseph Emilio Abaya, former MRT General Manager Roman Buenafe and other officials involved in the purchase of the coaches.

Also invited are current Transport officials, Sec. Arthur Tugade and Transport Undersecretary for Rails Cesar Chavez.

Poe said that she wanted answers to why the previous administration failed to check the compatibility of the design of the trains.

"There's something that they (past Transport officials) didn't do that's why these things aren't compatible... The parts that they ordered aren't even compatible with each other," Poe said.

She also called for an inquiry to look into MRT's existing maintenance contract with a Filipino-Korean joint venture, Busan Universal Rail Inc., that started maintenance and restoration works in January 2016 on the aging MRT, which has been operating since 2000.

The lady senator said that although it was not unusual to have parts from train parts from different countries, the delivery should have the complete package.

"Ang mismong kaha o yung tren mismo gawa sa China, yung signaling system gawa sa South Korea, at yung makina gawa sa Germany. So kung sasabihin mo, yan ang malaking chop-chop di ba -- kung saan-saan galing (The train was made in China, the signaling system was made in South Korea and the engine was made in Germany. So if you say that, it was chopped into pieces -- it came from different places), Poe said.

Source: Philippines News Agency