Sen. Grace Poe pinned the blame on the Aquino administration for the recurring problems hounding the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) system even as she prodded the Department of Transportation (DOTr) officials to hasten the improvements in operations.
Lamenting the latest accident involving an MRT commuter on Wednesday, Poe warned against long-unattended “structural and technical time bombs” in the train system that put daily commuters at risk.
“While many of the woes began with the past administration, the current problems are now in the hands of the DOTr,” Poe said. “If they are earnest and sincere in addressing these problems, then they should work faster,” she added, to improve the train system.
Commuter Angeline Fernando, 24, fainted when she alighted the train on Tuesday afternoon. She fell on the railway tracks, and her right arm was caught between the first and second train cars.
Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez said on Wednesday that Fernando had a successful operation. “Angeline’s arm is reconnected to her body; the bone, the nerve and vessels are reconnected. She is under observation at least until Friday,” Chavez said.
Poe pointed out that what happened to Fernando was a “very unfortunate incident that could have been prevented with a passenger-railing safety feature.”
“But, right now, the DOTr should focus on the overall safety of the MRT, which could impact a larger number of people in case a serious technical glitch strikes,” said Poe, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Services.
At the same time, the senator acknowledged that “in reality, the riding public faces so many of the MRT’s structural and technical time bombs that put in serious doubt the DOTr’s assurance that it is still safe to ride these trains.”
The senator cited the signaling system of the rails, which is a basic safety component, noting that it is “incompatible with the Dalian [China] trains purchased by the previous administration.”
She added that the MRT rails “are also defective and broken, and have yet to be fully replaced by the agency.”