Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The Long Wait Is Far From Over

 The solution is simple really and I don't understand why things have to be complicated , raise the MRT fare and find a way to make the buses plying EDSA run faster . Our train fares are the cheapest in the world. There is a saying, if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. If pinoys can afford the most expensive cellphones, and change everytime a new model comes along, (not to mention load everyday so they can text and FB non-stop), I dont see any reason why they cant add five pesos more to have a safer and more comfortable train ride to work.

What people don't know is that the the construction of MRT-3 train line was started in 1996 under a build-lease-transfer agreement. It was completed and MRT-3 started operations in December 1999. It was built by a Filipino consortium composed of: Fil-Estate Management, a subsidiary of the MRTC chairman Robert John Sobrepeña's property and preneed business; Ayala Land; Greenfield Development Corp. of United Laboratories; Ramcar Inc. of the Agustines family; and Anglo-Phil Holdings Corp. associated with the Ramos family, owners of National Book Store.

It was leased to and operated by the government through the DOTC for 25 years, after which it would be transferred to and fully controlled by the latter.

The Filipino investors infused $190 million in equity and obtained loans worth $462 million from a group of international and local banks with a sovereign guarantee from the Philippine government.

MRTC was assured of an after-tax, after debt-service, after-expense return of 15 percent on their investments every year. The government also committed to pay escalating rental fees for 25 years.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) expects the delivery of the additional 48 new trains under the P3.8-billion Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 expansion project a month before President Aquino steps down in 2016.Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in a press conference that the prototype of the new trains is expected to be delivered by December next year and would be tested on the rails of MRT 3 along EDSA.

Abaya said the new trains would be delivered by batches and the last batch of delivery of the 48 new trains is scheduled in May 2016.He said the agency’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) is now conducting post qualification procedures on the lone bidder that qualified for the bidding.

Another Chinese firm CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co. Ltd. was disqualified by the BAC due to lack of certain technical requirements. The DOTC chief declined to comment on how long the evaluation process would take.

Abaya said he would review the terms of reference for the bidding and would order a rebidding if he discovers that the terms favor a certain company or if any wrong doing is involved.
He said a total of five groups bought bidding documents, but only the two Chinese companies submitted their bids last June 11.The three groups, including Czech-owned Inekon which earlier accused a group of government officials and private individuals of extorting $30 million from the company in exchange for the contract, did not submit a bid.

For the MRT train operator's failure to fulfil contractual obligations, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is cpnsidering a move to sue Metro Rail Transit Corporation.
DOTC said that the legal option is now being studied by the agency since the company failed to meet its obligation in overseeing the management of the mass railway system.MRTH has informed the board of directors of MRTC that they have no authority to enter into any compromise with the Philippine Government and/or to agree to an Equity Value Buy-Out of the MRT-3 System without the express consent of at least two-thirds of MRTC’s shareholders pursuant to the provisions of the Corporation Code,” Narvasa said.

MRTH is 100 percent owner of all the shares in MRTC that owns the facilities of the mass transit system along EDSA that it built through a Build-lease-transfer (BLT) scheme with the government. MRTH has not authorized any compromise agreement of the pending Arbitration Case in Singapore.MRTH has not received any official communication from the government regarding any offer for a compromise.

The nominee directors of MRTH in MRTC have also not communicated to MRTH that the Philippine Government has officially offered a compromise.Aside from legal action, Transportation and Communication Secretary Emilio "Jun" Abaya said during the hearing that DOTC is also pursuing a complete takeover of MRT3 operations from MRT Corp. through a compromise before an arbitration court in Singapore.He said the government remained confident that the legal action will not affect the planned buyout on MRT 3.

Malacanang has allocated P53 billion in the proposed 2015 national budget to complete the government takeover of MRT 3.DOTC officials pointed out that the MRTC should have purchased additional train coaches as far back as 2003 to address capacity expansion, but it failed to expand the mass transport system and even took legal action against DOTC over the latter's purchase of an additional 48 train coaches. Another  question in the planned takeover of MRTC despite pending legal issues that needed to be resolved first, especially the issue of ownership of MRT 3.

Another current efforts of the administration to fix the operations of MRT 3, including the Aug. 13 train malfunction that left several of its passengers injured, should have been undertaken by MRTC.  
 "Do you plan to sue MRTC? Why do you allow them to barrage the government with litigation left and right by way of TROs when, clearly, they did not deliver on their contract? They are in default; they have not been doing all of these things for the past 10 years, when they should have procured additional wagons, why didn't the government sue them to force them to comply or to terminate the contract? Why is the onus on us when they are the ones at fault?

Insiders disclosed that, as early as 2003, or some three years after MRTC became fully operational, it should have started purchasing new coaches when it hit the passenger capacity threshold, but the company failed to do so.  

So they have been in violation for the past 11 years?How much longer do we need to study this before we actually file a case against them instead of shelling out P50 billion of taxpayers money?
DoTC's Lotilla said documents, such as maintenance records, remain in the possession of MRTC, which prevents the government from scrutinizing the details that will go into the plan of action, including the filing of legal suits.

Meanwhile, also said during the hearing that DOCT and MRT Corporation should work together to reduce the waiting time of thousands of train passenge.

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