MANILA - An official of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) denied on Thursday allegations that the rehabilitation of the MRT-3 is overpriced.
DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan denied the allegations by Philippine Star columnist Jarius Bondoc that the cost for the rehabilitation of the railway has more than doubled from P7.5 billion to nearly P18 billion.
Bondoc wrote in his Nov. 14 column that the owner of the MRT-3, Metro Rail Transit Corp (MRTC), had proposed to do the same rehab for only P7.5 billion in 2016.
The price, Bondoc claimed, was quoted by Sumitomo Corp, which is the same company the DOTr has contracted to rehabilitate and maintain the MRT-3.
But Batan said Sumitomo made no such offer to MRTC.
"Sumitomo has not, formally or even informally, given a price quote to MRTC for the rehabilitation and for maintenance of the MRT-3 anytime in the last 5 years. And our proposal will be based on a very recent system audit on the current MRT 3 system," Batan said, quoting a statement that he said was from Sumitomo itself.
He also said the MRTC itself had no capability to rehabilitate Metro Manila's main railway.
"Nangongolekta lang yan ng renta mula sa DOTr at hindi naman talaga sya railway operator o railway developer," Batan said.
(MRTC just collects rent from the DOTr and is not really a railway operator or railway developer.)
The Japan International Cooperation Agency has committed to finance the rehab of the MRT-3.
The DOTr expects train service to improve by the third quarter of 2019.