Press Release
February 2, 2015

At the Senate hearing on urgent MRT issues

Sen. Grace Poe asked Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya to step up to the challenge of addressing the needed upgrade and rehabilitation of MRT, while questioning the timing of the fare increase that took effect Jan. 4.

In his powerpoint presentation at the Senate public services sub-committee on transport hearing chaired by Poe, Abaya identified the following rehabilitation projects for the MRT3 with target completion dates: rail replacement, to be completed by September 2015; signalling system upgrade, September 2015; radio communications upgrade, November 2015; supply of traction motors, October 2015; consulting services, April 2015; ancillary system, April 2016; supply of OCS road-rail vehicle, May 2016; supply of grinding machine rail vehicle, May 2016; total replacement of signalling system, October 2016; conveyance facilities, January 2016; and general train overhaul, June 2017.

"Tragically though, the last two years have seen the fastest decline in maintenance and performance of the MRT. We should be able to step up to this challenge now," Poe stressed.

The senator asked Abaya and train officials to report on the completion of the said projects, while emphasizing the need to immediately resolve the maintenance of facilities, particularly the installation of the elevated water tanks in the next three months, as committed to by train officials.

"Kumilos tayo ayon sa hangaring mapabuti ang kalagayan ng ating matagal nang nagtitiis na mga pasahero," Poe reiterated.

The senator presented a followup commuters' report which gave an even more dismal rating of 4.2 for the MRT services, from a score of 3.8 (using the University of the Philippines grading system) in the first commuters' report. The inspection, conducted from Jan. 20 to 29, particularly evaluated six areas: queue, comfort rooms, escalator/elevators, ease of travel and airconditioning system and total riding experience.

"We maintain that the fare hike is ill-timed. While it was implemented under the aegis of political will, it is not in accordance with political compassion. Social justice is always the domain of government. Mahalaga ang pagmamalasakit sa kapwa," Poe emphasized.

In her opening statement, the senator said, "The price hike underscores other problems regarding the MRT system that go to its very core. There's a need to rehabilitate both the physical and the financial structure of the MRT system."

Aside from Abaya, present at the hearing were Department of Transportation and Communications Usec. Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, Usec. Rene Limcaoco and Asec. Camille Alcaraz-Campos, Engr. Roman Buenafe, Rene San Jose, Robert Sobrepena, Atty. Rogelio Bondoc Jr., Rafael de Tagle, Atty. David Narvasa, Allan Ortencio, Elvira Medina, Roland Galon, Wilson Fortaleza, Ethel Briones, and EJ Funtalva.

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