DOTC officials' accountability over train mishap sought

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Monday, August 18, 2014


A LAWMAKER believes that Malacañang should hold transport officials accountable following a series of glitches in the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3).

Isabela Representative Rodolfo Albano said it is timely and proper for President Benigno Aquino III to carry out a top-to-bottom reorganization at the MRT, as well as for the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to fix the mess that is plaguing the trains of Line-3.

Albano asked Aquino to look into this problem by taking a ride in the MRT to experience the "deplorable conditions and disservice that punish his ‘bosses’ – the hundreds of thousands of commuters, riding the metro mass transit system daily.”

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The Palace, however, was cold to the proposal.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that what was important was to ensure the safety of the riding public.

"Kahit sino pa man ang sumakay diyan, dapat ay matiyak na ligtas ang pagbabiyahe at ‘yan ang tinitiyak ng ating pamahalaan sa araw-araw na operasyon ng Mass Rapid Transit o MRT," he said.

Albano lamented the MRT-3 incident last August 13 when dozens were rushed to the hospital after a coach carrying passengers crashed unto the barrier of the Taft station in Pasay City.

Coloma assured that whoever would be found liable in the accident would be held accountable.

"Kasama naman ‘yan sa konsiderasyon, ‘yung pagkakaroon ng accoutnability o pananagutan ng mga opisyal; at sinasabi nga natin, ang kanilang pangunahing pananagutan ay tiyakin ‘yung kaligtasan ng mga mamamayan at ng mga pasahero ng MRT," he said.

Albano said that even before the accident, the government should have realized that the MRT-3 was being mismanaged as proven by the misfortunes plaguing the mass transport system from kilometer-long queues, operational glitches and derailment of the system due to power supply problems and dilapidated, if not poorly maintained, equipment.

“What has happened to the MRT since 2010 shows in bold relief the mismanagement of the MRT and the total lack or absence of a strategic and tactical plan to ensure that the this mass transit system in Metro Manila is able to provide efficient, reliable, safe and affordable service to its commuters,” he said.

Albano said that sheer incompetence, poor management and the very unreliable services that bedevil and punish commuters daily is enough reason to immediately carry out a management revamp of the MRT and DOTC officials handling the MRT system.

“We should not wait for lives to be lost or injured before government wakes up to the fact that it must provide efficient, reliable safe and affordable mass transport system services to hundreds of thousands of Metro Manila commuters daily," he said.

Kabataan partylist Representative Terry Ridon already filed a resolution calling for a congressional investigation into last week's accident.

He said the probe will look at the possible criminal liabilities and “gross neglect of duty” of operators of the train system, including DOTC, the MRT Corporation, and private maintenance contractors. (John Carlo Cahinhinan/SDR/Sunnex)

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