Malacañang promises ‘better MRT’ under Duterte

Pia Ranada
Malacañang promises ‘better MRT’ under Duterte
In fixing the MRT3 mess, the government will show the same political will as President Rodrigo Duterte has shown in combating the country's drug problem, says Malacañang

MANILA, Philippines – Amid public frustration over the many problems besetting the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) system, Malacañang promised a better MRT during the Duterte administration. 

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, on Monday, November 20, said, “We accept the challenge. We are moving forward and we promise better MRT to our riding public.” (READ: [EDITORIAL] #AnimatEd: Tragic rides, drastic steps for the MRT)

Roque said that Duterte, famous for his outrage over the country’s drug problem, will apply the same formidable political will in solving the MRT’s troubles.

“We will show the same political will that the President has shown in his fight against illegal drugs, in his fight against corruption, in bringing this vital service of transportation to the people as well,” said Roque. 

Malacañang asked the public to give the Duterte government a chance to solve the seemingly endless frustrations about the MRT. 

“With the President assuming that he will be responsible for the MRT, let us give the President the opportunity to rectify the many problems that his administration inherited from the past dispensation,” said the Duterte spokesman.

Last Saturday, November 18, Duterte said the recent detachment of a train coach from the MRT3 train’s main body may have been a work of sabotage. 

“It would indicate sabotage or something did it intentionally. So maybe the connecting mechanisms there or equipment seems to be – they didn’t see it or it’s not there when it’s supposed to be there,” he said in Davao City.

“This is not an excuse actually. We offer no excuse, but apologies maybe to the public for the inconvenience caused,” he added.

Some 130 to 140 commuters were forced to walk on train tracks after the MRT3 carriage they were riding got detached from the train’s main body.

So far, there are already more MRT3 problems in the year 2017 than in the previous year, according to research by Rappler. 

From January 1 to November 17 this year, there have been 475 MRT3 problems already recorded – an average of 10.33 a week, or more than once a day on some days. Of this number, 413 are train offloading incidents, 35 are service interruptions, and 27 are provisional services or shortened trips.

There were only 392 incidents in the same period in 2016, or an average of around 8.5 a week. Even then, in the entire 2016, only 441 incidents were recorded in the MRT3 line. –

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at