MANILA - The MRT-3 imperils its passengers with structural and technical "time bombs," Sen. Grace Poe said Wednesday following a freak accident that severed the arm of a woman at the capital's main railway.
Angeline Fernando, a 24-year-old quality engineer, lost her right arm when it was caught between 2 train coaches after she experienced a dizzy spell and fell on the railway tracks at the MRT-Ayala Station, Tuesday. Surgeons successfully reattached her arm some 12 hours after the accident.
The incident could have been prevented with a passenger railing safety feature, Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services, said in a statement.
She urged the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to focus on the overall safety of the MRT-3, saying more passengers could be affected in case of a serious technical glitch. The metro rail has become notorious for breakdowns due to maintenance issues.
"In reality, the riding public faces so many of the MRT’s structural and technical time bombs that put in serious doubt the DOTr’s assurance that it is still safe to ride these trains," she said.
"For example, the signaling system of the rails, which is a basic safety component, is incompatible with the Dalian trains purchased by the previous administration. The rails are also defective and broken, and have yet to be fully replaced by the agency."
Poe said that while many of the MRT's woes began with the past administration, the current problems are "now in the hands of the DOTr."
"If they are earnest and sincere in addressing these problems, then they should work faster on bettering our train system," she said.
The DOTr took over the upkeep of MRT-3 last month after terminating the contract of its maintenance contractor, Busan Universal Rail Inc., which has been blamed for frequent glitches.
The MRT, which runs the length of EDSA from Quezon City to Pasay City, ferries about half a million commuters daily.