Ex-MRT maintenance provider protests being 'demonized'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 04 2017 11:46 AM

MANILA - The former maintenance provider of the MRT-3 on Monday rued being "demonized" in public, as it aired its side on service interruptions that hounded the capital's busiest railway.

Busan Universal Rail Inc, a Filipino-Korean consortium, was not "getting paid properly" since September last year, according to its lawyer, Maricris Pahate. The Department of Transportation ended its contract with BURI in November.

"We’ve been demonized in public, the company has been tarnished and the company won't be able to bid because of this," Pahate said.

"We wanted the public to know our side, nobody knows what has been happening. That’s why we started talking," she said.

Under its P3.8-billion contract that was signed during the Aquino administration, BURI was to receive P54 million monthly for maintenance work, the overhaul of 43 trains and the replacement of the signaling system, Pahate said.

The contract also mandated a P25,000 deduction per car every 20 minutes if they failed to run 18 trains on peak hours and 13 during off peak hours, she said.

"We were given 13 trains to work with in the beginning and in November 2016, we were running 22 trains. But starting September 2016 we weren’t getting paid properly, that’s why we were protesting,” Pahate said.

"There were deductions being made regardless of the number of trains that we have complied with," she said.

Pahete said BURI was also "assured" that the company would not be held liable for glitches if these were caused by the "old and decrepit" condition of the rails.

Plunder charges have been filed against former transportation secretaries Mar Roxas and Joseph Emilio Abaya, former finance secretary Cesar Purisima and former budget secretary Butch Abad over the BURi deal.

On Nov. 23, transport undersecretary Cesar Chavez resigned, saying he was taking responsibility for the MRT.

Pahete said BURI filed a case before the Ombudsman against Chavez for alleged "prejudicial acts" and supposed refusal to consult with the company.

The Philippines and Japan are in "high-level discussions" to bring back Sumitomo Corp as maintenance provider for the MRT, as part of a 4-point plan to improve MRT services, the MRT said last week.