MANILA, Philippines – Autre Porte Technique Global Incorporated (APT Global), the current maintenance provider for Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT3) has been slapped with penalties amounting to P211,808,999.99 ($4,739,235.03) over numerous service interruptions and various systems issues affecting the train service.
In an audit report of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) released Wednesday, May 13, by the Commission on Audit (COA), the penalties covered 12 billings by the contractor from October 2013 to September 2014, constituting 30.92% of its total billed amount of P685,041,298.92 (15,327,178.83) for the same period.
APT Global’s contract with DOTC, signed September 2013, is worth P57,086,774.91 ($1,277,252.46) and is renewed on a monthly basis.
The contractor was supposed to provide a minimum of 20 trains with 3 cars each during peak hours. The penalty was set at P80,000 ($1,789.91) per car (per 20 minutes) that was not made available for the riding public during peak hours.
At off-peak hours, the penalty was P40,000 ($895.035) per car per hour.
Apart from its failure to provide the required number of rolling stocks or trains, APT Global also incurred penalties due to numerous service interruptions from train and system breakdowns.
It was also slapped with deductions for defective elevators and escalators.
However, auditors reported that former MRT3 General Manager Al S. Vitangcol tried to waive penalties against the contractor by modifying the terms and conditions of the contract, in a meeting with APT Global on September 2013.
This prompted the audit team to issue a notice of suspension on succeeding billing payments to the contractor.
COA also required the DOTC management to submit computations of penalties incurred per train availability based on monitoring and evaluation; impose deductions on the contract billings; and submit the “certificate of performance for services rendered and delivered” duly signed by the head of the procuring entity.
Vitangcol denied he did anything irregular, claiming waiver of the penalty for the first 30 days was allowed under the terms and conditions of the contract.
He added that the train availability report for September 5 to October 4, 2013 showed no penalty assessment against APT Global.
But during this period, APT Global failed to provide 375 cars during peak hours and 333 during non-peak hours so that it should have been imposed P48.15 million ($1.08 million).
Another P4.63 million ($103,614.10) in penalties were imposed due to service interruptions for other causes including train breakdowns and unusable elevators and escalators.
In a statement released Wednesday, Senator Grace Poe said she is dismayed with the series of technical glitches, system breakdowns, and insufficient number of trains in the MRT3 despite transport officials’ promise to improve the services for the riding public.
She added that after 4 long public hearings and a request for the DOTC to improve MRT3 services, not a single report has been submitted to the Senate sub-committee on transportation showing compliance or updates on what they have agreed on.
Poe added that DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya acknowledged that APT Global has only been deploying 8 to 10 trains instead of the required 20 trains during rush hours.
“My understanding is that the DOTC should be penalizing or sanctioning APT Global based on their contract,” she said.
“If indeed they are penalizing APT Global, it seems that such is not enough to deter APT Global from doing a lousy job. On top of that, the maintenance provider’s contract with the DOTC has been extended several times,” Poe added.
Abaya said on May 11 that his agency is set to award a multi-discipline contract covering 6 months of operations and maintenance of the most congested elevated mass transit system.
The maintenance contract now being auctioned off is good for every 6 months only since by 2016, the government hopes it would bid out a longer term for the operations and maintenance of MRT3. (READ: New MRT3 maintenance provider eyed in May) – Rappler.com
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