Poe wants progress report on MRT rehab

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe has asked the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to provide updates on the planned projects to upgrade and rehabilitate the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT3).

In a statement on Monday, March 2, Poe asked DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya to submit within 5 days a progress report on the agency's committed deliverables for the MRT3.

This comes after the train line encountered a series of glitches and malfunctions in the past two weeks, inconveniencing passengers and prompting some groups to decry the fare hike that the agency imposed last January.

“Our commuters have long been aggrieved, and any further delay in the accomplishment of vowed upkeep and upgrade is certainly unacceptable. We must hold accountable all those negligent in carrying out their duties,” Poe said.

She added: "If commuters are paying higher fares, it is only reasonable for them to expect improved service. An efficient and reliable mass transportation system helps improve workforce productivity and our economy."

The senator, who leads hearings on the MRT3 as chair of the Senate public services subcommittee on transport, also asked the DOTC to speed up the completion of rehabilitation projects.

During the last Senate hearing on February 2, Abaya presented a timeline of rehabilitation projects with their target completion dates:

In that hearing, DOTC Director for Operations Renato San Jose promised to complete the installation of elevated water tanks in 13 stations by May 2015. Abaya, meanwhile, promised the rehabilitation of restrooms in all MRT stations by the end of 2015 or early 2016.

Poe said Abaya and train officials should provide reports on the "exact level of progress" on each of the projects.

“We definitely want to know the exact level of progress and current accomplishments on every identified rehabilitation project. Pagmalasakitan naman natin ang ating matagal nang nagdurusang mga pasahero (Let's be compassionate to suffering passengers),” she said.

Last weekend, the MRT cut its operating hours to give way to rail replacement in a bid to address one cause of the mass transit line's glitches. – Rappler.com