#TalkThursday with MRT3 spokesperson Hernando Cabrera
MANILA, Philippines – Rappler talks to MRT3 spokesman Hernando Cabrera.
The Metro Rail Transit (MRT) has come under public scrutiny after one of its cars derailed and breached the safety barriers of its southernmost station on August 13. Following a government probe into the incident, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the two train drivers involved in the incident failed to follow safety procedures in the train’s “coupling” procedure. Abaya also admitted the line was overdue for an upgrade but insisted the line was still safe.
At the start of September 2014, the Senate opened its own investigation into the safety and operational efficiency of the MRT3. Grilling transport officials, lawmakers discovered that, apart from congestion and service interruptions, the problems with the MRT3 also include non-functioning elevators, escalators, and ticket dispensers in some terminals.
Senator Grace Poe, who rode the train in preparation for the hearing, called on the transportation department to show some compassion, saying: "Ipakita nyo naman sa kanila na habang wala ang ipinapangakong mga tren, meron tayong ginagawa, at sa pag-aayos ng TRO ninyo, meron kayong ginagawa. Gusto ko lamang makita ng taumbayan na may malasakit ang gobyerno natin.
(Show the people that while the new trains you've promised to purchase have yet to arrive, we are doing something about the situation; that while you're fixing your TRO, you're doing something about it. I want the Filipino people to see that their government cares for them.)
Since the derailing incident, the MRT line has been plagued by more service interruptions. On September 3, another MRT3 train malfunctioned, operating with the train doors wide open. Cabrera said the train coach was identified and isolated. The MRT3 will investigate the unit and driver to pinpoint what went wrong.
Nearly 600,000 people ride the MRT daily, far beyond its capacity of 360,000 passengers. Upgrades to the train line’s systems are a long time coming, given the MRT3’s current state.
President Benigno Aquino III blamed his predecessor Gloria Arroyo for the problems of the MRT, but said his administration is – quote – “on top of the situation.” He added that it would not be as big a problem as what it is today if the previous administration dealt with it. – Rappler.com