With presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte still waiting for the final and official election results from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), his camp has already talked with the owners of the MRT (Metro Rail Transit). Among the topics discussed is the plan to have an additional of 96 MRT trains. Watch the CNN Philippines news video below.
“In our discussions with President-elect Duterte, he is definitely on board in immediately finding a solution to resolve the problems of the MRT-3 project.” MRT Holdings, Inc. Chairman Robert Sobrepena said, adding that they want a fast-track rehabilitation of MRT, and may get back the services of Japanese firm Sumitomo Corp.
“Should the government sort of finalize the fast-track rehab proposal we have with them, in a period of about 9 months, 9 to 10 months, the whole MRT will be back to where it was in the beginning.” Sobrepena added. The project may cost up to $700 million under an agreement where the Philippine government will not spend any amount of money.
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Interestingly, the talks include the upgrade of MRT system by providing 96 more trains, and to finally build the Monumento station. Nevertheless, there are some expected challenges along the way, such as working well of the incoming transport officials with the existing contract, and that the newly-delivered trains should pass the standards tests.
However, Sobrepena emphasized that there was no consultation at all when those trains were purchased. He said that they were not informed about the standards and safety factors, which they should know right from the start. But in the incoming Duterte administration, the riding public is expecting a more comfortable MRT transport system.
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In early 2016, Sobrepena said that Mar Roxas and his successor as DOTC secretary, Joseph Emilio “Jun” Abaya may be liable for graft for mishandling the MRT3 system. That time, he said that MRT Holdings has submitted proposals to the DOTC in 2000, 2004, and 2008 for the repair and maintenance of MRT, but there was no response.