MANILA - The government will need to pay more to the Japanese firm contracted to rehabilitate and maintain the MRT if the trains made by Chinese company Dalian will be integrated into the mass transit system, officials of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Thursday.
Transportation Undersecretary Timothy Batan said Sumitomo Corp's contract covers the rehabilitation of the MRT line and maintenance of its original 72 coaches.
If the 48 coaches made by China's Dalian Corp are integrated into the MRT, the government and Sumitomo will need to negotiate another contract, Batan said during a Senate hearing on the DOTr's budget.
Sen. Grace Poe, who leads the Senate's public services panel, said last month that deploying the China-made trains to increase the MRT's capacity could help quickly solve traffic congestion in Metro Manila.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the government is still negotiating with Sumitomo about the cost of maintaining the Dalian trains.
"Kung ano 'yung exact amount i-e-establish pa rin po 'yun," Tugade said.
(The exact amount still needs to be established.)
The transportation chief added that they are also still studying if the MRT tracks could handle the additional capacity of adding all of the Dalian trains into the system.
The DOTr was also still unsure if all of the 48 Dalian coaches could be used.
"Hindi natin agaran masabi kung ilan ang magagamit," Tugade said.
(We can't immediately say how many [of the Dalian trains] can be used.)
Tugade added that the DOTr has so far tested only 3 train sets and cleared them for use on the MRT. MRT train sets have 3 coaches each.
Only 1 Dalian train set will be deployed on the MRT this month, he said, adding that the Chinese-made train will be used only during off-peak hours.
The Aquino government had purchased 48 Dalian trains for P3.8 billion, most of which have not been used amid doubts over their compatibility with the MRT tracks.