MANILA (UPDATE) - Testing delays have set back the deployment of two new trains of the MRT-3, a transportation official said Thursday.
The train manufacturer, China's Dalian Locomotive, has not agreed with one of its technical contractors, Bombadier, on the tests, said Department of Transportation (DOTr) Assistant Secretary for rails Cesar Chavez.
The Philippines bought 48 trains from Dalian to improve the services of the MRT, which ferries roughly half a million passengers daily on average.
"Akma ba iyung tren? Sa ngayon, hindi ko masasabing akmang-akma sapagkat hindi pa po kumpleto ang dokumentong hinihingi ko... Maraming hindi kumpleto at tamang documents," Chavez told radio DZMM.
(Are the trains right? I can't say for now because I have yet to receive all the documents I need. Many of the documents were incomplete and erroneous.)
MRT General Manager Deo Manalo has yet to sign the safety certificate of the new trains pending assurances on this system, Chavez said.
The new trains are undergoing the final phase of testing and should be completed by March or April this year, said Manalo.
"Na-witness niyo naman na we conducted the test, nag-activate and it's compatible with our signaling. Kailangan lang i-perfect sa tren, 'yung internals ng tren kailangan pa pag-usapan 'yun," he said.
(You witnessed that we conducted the test, it was activated and it's compatible with our signaling. We have to perfectly suit it with the train.)
The railway's power system should be upgraded, which will be completed by the end of the year, to run all newly purchased 16 train sets, he added.
Manalo said there is also documentation that the MRT management has accepted a prototype.
"During the first billing, we issued a statement or certification that it has already approved. When we were submitting the billing, iba 'yung template for inspection," he said, adding that the management has only paid 14 percent of the P3.8 billion cost of the new trains. -- With report from Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News