MRT manager offers to quit

METRO Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) general manager Rodolfo Garcia on Wednesday, January 31, offered to resign after House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez implied that he is not competent to address the problems plaguing the train system.

During the joint hearing of the House Committe on Transportation and Committee on Public Works and Highways, Alvarez scolded Garcia for the lack of operating trains and frequent glitches in the MRT3, which have caused long queues and inconvenience to the riding public.

He noted that commuters have long been suffering from its service.

"Ito yung kinakampanya ng Presidente nung panahon pa ng eleksiyon. Nirereklamo niya kawawa yung mga tao, ang haba ng pila. Nilagay ka diyan para ayusin mo yung problema. Ngayon e yung experience mo pala e member ka lang ng board, wala ka naman experience sa operation, maintenance. E ang alam mo lang papasok ka dun, tignan mo lang kung tumatakbo yung train, o pano? Hindi mo natanong kung kulang ba (ang coaches?)," Alvarez said.

(This is one of the President's campaign promises. You were appointed to that post to address the problem. But you do not have experience in operations and maintenance. You think your only task is to ensure that the trains are running? Have you asked whether there are enough coaches?)

"Ang haba ng pila anong gagawin mo? Di magdagdag ka ng train, di ba? Eh kung ganyan yung nasa isip mo how you will manage MRT 3 na ang laki-laki na ng problema? Ibigay mo yan doon sa marunong,” he added.

(What do you do with the long queues? You should add more coaches. But if that's how you think the problem should be addressed, you give the job to somebody who knows how to solve the problem.)

Alvarez made the remark after Garcia said his job is only to ensure that the trains were running.

Alvarez stressed that Garcia's real mission as an official of the MRT 3 is to ensure the convenience of the riding public as well as the safety and cleanliness of the mass transport system.

In answer to Alvarez, Garcia said they were looking to augment the number of MRT3 trains by using the Dalian coaches.

Presently, Garcia said only 10 coaches are being used. This accommodates more than 300,000 passengers a day, far from the MRT's original specification to serve 300,000 passengers with at least 20 trains.

Alvarez argued and said that the signalling system of the Dalian coaches was not compatible with the present system and challenged Garcia if he was sure of what he was saying.

"Hindi nga pwede yan. Hindi match ang signaling. Hindi mo ba alam hanggang ngayon yan? (That won't do. The signalling system does not match. Don't you know that?)" Alvarez asked.

Garcia answered: "Pwede po lagyan ang Dalian train ng signaling (We can install a signalling system in the Dalian coaches). I was assured by..."

"Sigurado ka (Are you sure)?" Alvarez cut him and asked.

"Then I will resign kung hindi ako sigurado (if I'm not sure). Gusto mo magresign na ako ngayon na (Do you want me to resign now)?" Garcia answered.

To this Alvarez said: "I think the country will be happy."

Following the heated exchanges between the two, members of the committee reminded Garcia to accord proper respect not only to the committee but also to Alvarez.

Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said that if the committee so decides, it can order his detention.

Garcia apologized to the committee and later approached Alvarez and apologized.

At the end of the hearing, Garcia, when asked if he was serious with his offer, said: "Yes, your honor. Medyo pressured na po ako as GM. I'm contemplating getting out."

Prior to his appointment to the MRT3, Garcia served as a police general. He was also a former director for Operations of the MRT3. (SunStar Philippines)
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