80 train coaches purchased in 2017 have water leaks: DOTr

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 16 2023 07:35 PM | Updated as of Feb 16 2023 10:09 PM

MANILA -- Some 80 of the 120 train coaches that the government procured for the Light Rail Transit 1 Cavite Extension Project in 2017 for P12 billion have water leaks, a Department of Transportation (DOTr) official told a House Committee on Transportation hearing on Thursday.

During the House panel's hearing with the DOTR's Railway Sector, Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez told lawmakers that for this reason, the government withheld payment for the coaches.

"May nabanggit ka kanina na Usec. Chavez tungkol sa nabili na cause ng delay? Ano yung mga yun na trains na nabili na nagcacause ng delay ngayon, ano ba yung mga yun? Di ba nagagamit? Anong cause ng delay?" Bulacan 6th District Rep. Salvador Pleyto asked.

"Hindi natin pwedeng ipagamit sapagka't kapagka umulan baka pati sa loob ng mga bagon ay uulan din. Sa pagpasok ng Marcos administration, nag-decide po tayo na wag magbayad sa Mitsubishi CAF," Chavez explained.

Chavez later clarified that the contractor had already been paid P6 billion, which leaves a P6 billion balance for the procurement which happened in 2017. However the trains were delivered in 2021.

Chavez said they also withheld payments to the consultant who has been asked to explain the issue.

Chavez admitted that the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the deployment of Filipino personnel to test the coaches before delivery to the Philippines.

Chavez said the past administration should have suspended delivery since they were not able to inspect the train coaches.

He said the defective coaches have since been retested but these are still leaking.

House Deputy Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro wants accountability.

"Dapat merong managot dito, tingnan niyo yung nangyayari. Nire-rehabilitate yung mga bagon na di naman natin nagamit pa. Parang bumili ka ng koste na di mo nagamit pa sinasabing bago pero pagdating sa'yo ang dami palang sira tapos tayo yung nabuburden ng problema," Castro said.

When asked if a complaint has been filed, Chavez demurred.

"This is a continuing contract there is an opportunity for the contractor to rectify its error and that is also allowed. This is not a finished contract we have not paid in full," Chavez said.