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February 13, 2014

DOTC Ready To Defend Public Interest, Need For Additional MRT-3 Coaches

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is ready to defend public interest and argue its case on the need to add forty-eight (48) new Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) to the Metro Rail Transit III (MRT-3)system at 2:00pm today, before the Regional Trial Court of Makati. 

Acting on a petition filed by Metro Rail Transit Holdings II, Inc., the court issued a 20-day Temporary Order of Protection on 30 January 2014, preventing the transport agency from going ahead with the Project. 

While having no contractual relationship, the DOTC says that MRT Holdings II should be held accountable for Metro Rail Transit Corporation’s (MRTC) failure to add much-needed train coaches to the rail line, after it claimed to own 100% of MRTC. 

“Passenger safety and convenience demand that the project proceed immediately. MRTC has received over P 35.2 Billion in equity rental payments since 2000. Yet it has added zero LRVs, knowing full well that MRT-3 has been operating beyond capacity for years. MRT Holdings II must answer the obvious question: why hasn’t it added LRVs to MRT-3 all this time?” said DOTC Spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal. 

The rail transit line has an original design capacity of only 350,000 passengers per day. According to current MRT-3 data, it is already averaging 560,000 passengers daily, and its highest recorded number of single-day riders has reached 620,000. 

Government has made the following equity rental payments to MRTC since 2000, pursuant to the Build-Lease-Transfer (BLT) agreement:


YEAR
PAYMENT IN US DOLLARS
 PH PESO EQUIVALENT

YEAR
PAYMENT IN US DOLLARS
PH PESO EQUIVALENT
2000
9,166,665
448,515,054.70
2007
39,999,996
1,754,820,860.36
2001
9,999,996
519,220,323.88
2008
39,999,996
1,844,433,054.49
2002
9,999,996
520,304,865.70
2009
44,583,333
2,108,191,434.15
2003
19,166,670
1,064,526,731.07
2010
118,333,337
5,255,041,829.44
2004
20,000,004
1,121,338,123.04
2011
129,583,330
5,620,838,651.65
2005
38,333,330
2,005,689,396.15
2012
129,999,996
5,482,319,022.33
2006
39,999,996
1,877,620,456.23
2013
129,999,996
5,580,144,026.22


These payments total USD 779,166,641.00 or P 35,203,003,829.41. 

“Those are the numbers: P 35.2 Billion paid to MRTC; more than 560,000 passengers daily; zero trains added to the system. Despite all of this, MRT Holdings II is asking the court to stop the DOTC from improving MRT-3’s services,” Sagcal added. 

To end government’s obligation to continue making equity rental payments to MRTC until 2025 while the latter effectively blocks efforts to improve MRT-3 services, an Equity Value Buy-Out of MRTC is already being prepared by the Department of Finance pursuant to Executive Order No. 126, series of 2013. 

As to the maintenance of the MRT-3 system, it is MRTC’s obligation under the BLT agreement to provide such services. However, MRTC allowed its previous contract with maintenance provider Sumitomo of Japan to lapse in 2010, after which it engaged Sumitomo’s services with short-term contracts only. 

The DOTC acted promptly and stepped in to ensure the safety of the riding public, by first engaging a maintenance provider through an emergency procurement, followed by the regular procurement of a longer-term maintenance service provider last year.

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