MANILA - Spare parts for the MRT will start arriving by the end of January, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said Thursday, after the railway ran below capacity in recent days, causing longer passenger queues.
As few as 7 trains ran during rush hour on Wednesday morning, roughly half of the MRT's capacity. Ten trains were running early Thursday, according to its website.
"I beg for your understanding," Tugade addressed commuters on ANC's Headstart.
"Ginagawa ho namin 'yung dapat gawin at hindi ho salita ito. Hindi ho bola 'to. Sinsero kami na i-address 'yung sitwasyon," he said.
(We are doing what is necessary and this is not mere lip service. We are sincere in addressing the situation.)
Tugade said the MRT's previous maintenance provider did not build up an inventory of spare parts, which he blamed for recent service interruptions.
The government ordered parts late last year and deliveries could take 60 to 90 days, he said.
"We are pushing for the procurement of these spare parts... Iba ho 'pag MRT, 'pag may problema ka sa spare parts, hindi ka tatakbo sa hardware," he said.
(The MRT is different. If there is a problem with spare parts, you can't just run to the hardware store.)
Tugade said the government was also discussing the possible return of Japan's Sumitomo as maintenance provider for the MRT.
A proposal from a consortium led by tycoon Manuel Pangilinan to take over the MRT is also being studied, he said.