MANILA - The Department of Transportation (DOTr) chief on Wednesday said it needs to strike a deal with the Chinese firm that made 48 trains for the MRT before August 20 to ensure there will be enough trains for the riding public before the rehabilitation of the railway gets underway.
Transportation Secretary Arturo Tugade said the trains made by Chinese company Dalian Locomotive can be used for the MRT but will need some modification.
"Target namin na bago mag August 20, kailangan may final decision na yan. Use or not use," Tugade said in an interview with DZMM Teleradyo.
If Dalian and the government can't reach an agreement before August 20, Tugade said he will raise the issue before Chinese officials.
Tugade said he is set to attend a high-level meeting on August 20 with Chinese officials to discuss infrastructure projects that China will implement in the country.
The transport chief added that Dalian has already assured him that it will make the modifications without additional cost to the government.
The Dalian trains will need to be deployed before Japanese company Sumitomo undertakes the rehabilitation of the railway, Tugade said.
When the rehab starts, there will only be 12 trains running, which would make it impossible for the MRT to meet its target of serving 500,000 to 600,000 passengers a day.
Sumitomo will formally become the MRT's maintenance provider by mid-August or September, Tugade said.