Rail Usec Chavez resigns after MRT incidents

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 23 2017 09:34 AM | Updated as of Nov 23 2017 10:42 AM

DOTr Undersecretary Cesar Chavez during a press conference on the reduction of trains and travel speed of the MRT-3 in Quezon City on Thursday, June 15, 2017. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - (UPDATE) Transportation undersecretary for rail Cesar Chavez on Thursday tendered his irrevocable resignation, saying he was taking responsibility for the MRT.

Except for 2 recent incidents, Chavez said service at the MRT has improved since the government took over its maintenance earlier this month as shown by fewer incidents of passengers getting offloaded.

Chavez read a portion of his resignation letter in a news conference, saying "simple sense of delicadeza gives me no choice but to resign."

"Spare parts and management are replaceable. Kung hindi nakakabili ng spare parts, nagkaka-aberya. Kung kulang performance ng management nagkaka-problema. I am tendering my irrevocable resignation," Chavez told reporters.

(Spare parts and management are replaceable. If you don't buy spare parts, there are problems. If the performance of the management is lacking, there are problems. I am tendering my irrevocable resignation.)

"Hindi naman puwedeng lagi tayong naninisi sa nakaraan. Responsibilidad na namin ito. Ang tingin ho namin, responsibility ko 'to bilang undersecretary for railways," he said.

(We can't keep on blaming the past. This is our responsibility now. It is my responsibility as undersecretary for railways.

"Mr President, you are correct. There should be no excuses," Chavez said, adding, he had apologized to the public many times for service interruptions.

Chavez said the past leadership's decision to renew limit the term of maintenance contracts to 6 months at a time prevented the contractor from buying "capital spares" such as air-conditioners, bogey frames and fraction motors.

"For the last 5 years, 6-month contracts. Paano makakakabili ng spare parts? Policy decision 'yun. Indecisive, unable to make a stable policy, unable to make executive decision at 'yan ang impact ngayon," he said.

(For the last 5 years, 6-month contracts. How can they buy spare parts? It's a policy decision, Indecisive, unable to make a stable policy unable to make executive decision and that's the impact now.)

"Hindi ito pagpi-pinpoint kundi paglalahad lamang ng katotohanan bakit ganito na tayo," he said.

(This is not pinpointing, but rather a narration of the truth on why we got to this point.)

Chavez cited recent incidents wherein a woman's arm was severed in a freak accident and 2 train cars detached from each other, forcing commuters to walk on the tracks.

"Nadali lang kami doon sa magkahiwalay na bagon at doon kami hinuhusgahan ng taumbayan at mananakay at tama lang 'yun. Pinananagutan namin kung anuman inconvenience doon," he said.

(We took the heat from the uncoupling of the train cars and we were judged by the people and by commuters and it was just right. We take responsibility for any inconvenience.)

Chavez said the previous administration also entered into opposing agreements on the MRT's signalling system, with one calling for an upgrade to digital while the other requiring a total replacement.

"Pinasok ang mga kontratang magkatunggali (Opposing contracts were entered into). Therefore, unimplementable, cannot be implemented," he said.

A check with spare parts supplier Bombardier showed that "not a single" part was procured from the company since 2013, Chavez said.

While 42 air conditioning units were scheduled for delivery last February, then maintenance provider Busan did not take them, he said.

Of the 48 new Chinese-made Dalian light-rail vehicles, only 29 are equipped with signalling systems and only 4 have software to run the system, he said.