DOTr forms transition team to run MRT-3 after severing deal with BURI
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has formed a transition team that will temporarily take over the maintenance of the Metro Railway Transit Line 3 after it formally terminated its contract with a Filipino-South Korean firm.
DOTr Undersecretary Cesar Chavez said the department served on Monday its final decision to end its P3.8-billion contract with Busan Universal Railways Inc. for the maintenance of the MRT-3 system, general overhauling of 43 Light Rail Vehicles, total replacement of its signaling system, and other additional maintenance works.
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, who signed the decision terminating the contract, noted the failure of BURI to address the issues raised in the Notice of Termination served on October 17.
According to the DOTr statement, Tugade also signed the establishment and composition of the MRT-3 Maintenance Transition Team that "will temporarily take over the maintenance works of MRT-3 while the procurement of a new maintenance provider is being processed."
In order to avoid service disruptions, technical personnel from BURI, whose roles are vital in MRT-3 maintenance works, shall be absorbed by the MRT-3, it added.
Tugade also ordered the Philippine National Railways, and Light Rail Transit Authority to provide sufficient technical support and expertise to ensure the smooth transition of MRT-3 maintenance works.
Almost everyday, MRT-3 has been experiencing problems in its operation.
On Sunday, the passengers had to be evacuated after smoke came out from one of the coaches. On Friday night, coaches broke down three times.
Maricris Pahate, external counsel of BURI said there was "no sufficient ground" to terminate its contract with DOTr.
"There's no enough reason to terminate the contract," Pahate said, adding that BURI will be asking the court to resolve the dispute.
BURI also questioned the validity of the termination of its contract with the government as there was no recommendation from the MRT-3 management to end its service.
"BURI's contract mandates that the termination notice must be accompanied by verified report from the MRT3, stating grounds for and explicitly recommending contract termination," Charles Mercado, spokesperson of BURI said.
"However, upon inquiry by BURI, MRT-3 General Manager Rodolfo Garcia, categorically stated that he did not make any such recommendation and did not even make findings as to existence of grounds for termination, but merely attested to authenticity of documents," he added.
Former officials of the then Department of Transportation and Communications, including then Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, have been charged before the Office of the Ombudsman due to alleged irregularity on the contract that the agency entered into with BURI. Celerina Monte/DMS