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The Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT3-EDSA) is the cornerstone of the Department of Transportation & Communication's integrated strategy to alleviate the chronic traffic congestion experience along the EDSA corridor. The Metro Rail system is designed to carry in excess of 23,000 passengers per hour per direction, initially, and is expandable to accommodate 48,000 passengers per hour, per direction.

For years now, rapid growth of commuters and vehicles population have plagued Metro Manila, the center of Philippine socio-economic and political activity. Heavy traffic, pollution and all the attendant undesired results are problems that Metro Manila had to contend with daily.

EDSA's importance to the lives of more than eight million people - or 12 percent of the country's 68 million citizens who live in Metro Manila cannot be underestimated. Added to the metropolis' growing population are the transients and migrants who come to live in Metro Manila in search of opportunities. Every birth, transient or migrant, is a potential commuter who will likely join more than the 2.8 million people already using EDSA.

At worse, heavy traffic is taking its toll on the nation's social and economic build-up. Traffic in Metro Manila is expected to nearly resemble nerve-wracking conditions in Bangkok, Thailand and in other parts of the world. Experts agree that a long term solution, beyond just keeping vehicles off the streets, is imperative. One of the solutions that the government sponsored was the establishment of the EDSA MRT3 System.

For the past years, MRT3 got what it takes to be the beaming lights of DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya. He moulded the management and operations to the best of his knowledge and reasons. Despite of it, he dangled his pride to become one of the government officials who put forward this MRT3 into devastating state.

The Senate was making a wave by questioning the MRT3 complete buyout of the DOTC. More sectors are claiming the buyout as a ploy of the government for other ulterior motives? But, as what the DOTC’s planning to the MRT3 development, the 2015 budget could help, according to Secretary Jun Abaya. And, implemented the fare hike for its development?

What happened then? Why constant breakdowns still feasible even to this date? Is there hidden agenda or vested interest on the part of the DOTC Secretary?

Let’s begin with his pronouncement that the DOTC has allotted P81.5 million to procure 608 pieces of new 12-meter steel rails for MRT 3. Pending the awarding of the contract and the supply of the new rails, the MRT 3 is borrowing spare rails from the LRT 2 due to its depleted stocks of spare rails. The ways for these maintenance needed means it’s not totally monitor to provide the proper security to the train commuters. In fact, more breakdowns are recorded and needs immediate solutions.

Aside from the rail replacement, the government is also procuring a new maintenance contractor for the MRT 3 line. The DOTC has recently increased the approved budget for the three-year MRT 3 maintenance contract to P2.4 billion from P2.2 billion allocated during the failed first bidding. The new maintenance provider will be the one to replace worn out rails with new ones.

The DOTC is looking for maintenance provider, for the nth time that could help the MRT3 operations run smoothly to replace Global-APT (Global Epcom and Autre Porte Technique), the present maintenance company wherein, members of Liberal Party’s involved. Why failed bidding?

With the present situation of rail system and while the government unilaterally raised metro train fares by 50-80 percent, with no upgrade in service or facilities, majority of the people doubting this fare increases would be siphoned into a huge pork barrel fund to finance public works projects through such schemes as the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) rather than to improve in the metro rail system to make it more efficient and safer for commuters to travel between their homes and jobs.

The unfortunate series of breakdowns were aggravated by the poor, incapable and incompetent maintenance of the MRT. The DOTC must implement all it can at the moment to ease the burden and guarantee the safety of the riding public.

The Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya must act accordingly with the mandate of the people to manage the MRT3-EDSA with the development as the first priority not the election 2016 financial pooling.


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