CHANGING the ownership of Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC) is part of the Duterte administration’s plan to solve the many ills plaguing “rapid transit system” of Metro Manila.
In a news briefing on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesman Harry L. Roque Jr. said changing the ownership of the MRTC is an action in the long-term.
“[The] Government has taken steps, while it is currently operating the MRT to procure much needed spare parts and they have taken steps now to enter into a contract with Sumitomo Corp. to be the maintenance provider as well, and this has been facilitated by the signing of an agreement between the governments of the Republic of the Philippines and Japan,” Roque said.
Roque explained these actions after announcing that new cases may be filed against former officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications over what he describes as the “MRT 3 mess.”
“There was a decision that cases will be pursued for those behind the miserable performance of MRT 3,” he told reporters. “There are pending complaints for plunder against officials of the previous administrations, specifically for awarding the maintenance contract to a company with absolutely no track record.”
Last year the government took over the maintenance of the MRT Line 3 after terminating a maintenance contract with Busan Universal Rail Inc. Aside from the filing of cases, Roque said the President has ordered to take several steps to address the problems plaguing the country’s second urban rail system.
“[T]he short-term is to purchase all necessary spare parts; the medium term is to enter into a maintenance contract with the original maintenance contractor Sumitomo; and the long-term, is to change the ownership of [MRTC], which appears to have contributed to problem of MRT 3 as well.”
Roque emphasized that the change in ownership of MRTC “will definitely happen during this administration.”