MANILA, Philippines – The riding public should blame the Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC) for the congestion at the MRT-3, the mass transit system’s general manager Al Vitangcol III said on Friday.
Vitangcol, general manager of the MRT-3, said the MRTC is causing delays in the procurement of new trains, which he said is the only solution to the MRT-3’s overcapacity.
“The government has been doing its best to help the public. We are at that point wherein we will give the go signal for the manufacturing of the train, then one entity will stop us. The riders should blame MRTC,” Vitangcol said.
The designed daily capacity of the MRT-3 is 350,000 passengers, but Vitangcol said the average number of passengers daily is now at 540,000.
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has already issued a Notice of Award for the P3.8 billion MRT-3 expansion project involving the acquisition of 48 brand new trains from China.
An order from the Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 66, however, prevented the DOTC from implementing the contract.
Vitangcol said the delay in the acquisition is costing the government about P9.41 million in losses a day.
"They stopped us for 20 days, meaning the delivery would be delayed for 20 days," he said.
On Thursday, former MRTC chairman Robert Sobrepeña said MRTC has the right to supply the trains under an existing build-lease-transfer (BLT) agreement signed in 1999.
He earlier said the MRTC made offers in 2000, 2004 and 2008 to supply brand new trains at no cost to the government, but it was has yet to be approved by the DOTC.
"We offered brand-new trains for expansion. That offer is still pending but the reply of the DOTC was to supply second-hand trains," Sobrepeña said.
But Vitangcol said there was no proposal from MRTC to buy new trains since the mass transit system was established along EDSA in 1999.
“MPIC is an entirely different entity from MRTC and there is no proposal from MRTC,” he said.
The court has given the MRTC’s Metro Rail Transit Holdings II and the DOTC to submit their memorandum on the case until Monday.