Chiz blames chaotic
MRT corporate structure for project delays
By Office of Senator Chiz
April 7, 2014
PASAY CITY – Senator
Chiz Escudero said the MRT corporate structure is a mess, causing
delays in the implementation of long-overdue transportation projects
aimed at improving the mass transport system.
Speaking to reporters after
a hearing by the Senate Committee on Finance to look into the
financial absorptive capacity of the Department of Transportation and
Communications (DOTC) to carry out projects, Escudero said the current
system governing the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC) operational
control and ownership remains a contentious issue that impedes the
future development of the MRT.
“The MRT system’s corporate
structure is a mess,” Escudero said. “Until now, the issue as to who
has the right to what, what the government’s rights are under the BLT
(build-lease-transfer) contract have yet to be settled.”
He noted that even during
the past administrations, the government and the MRTC have been at
loggerheads as to who should shoulder the acquisition of additional
new trains. “Apparently for 12 years, the MRTC and the government
stared at each other. When the government finally decided to buy new
trains, the private counterpart filed an injunction to the detriment
of the riding public.”
With the lifting of the
temporary restraining order (TRO) sought by the MRTC to stop the DOTC
from purchasing new trains, Escudero expressed optimism that there
will be no legal challenges along the way.
“Now that the TRO is already
lifted, the DOTC has already given a notice to proceed to the train
manufacturer in China. New trains will start coming in February of
2015, every month from then on there will be train deliveries. We hope
the DOTC can really deliver on its schedule and not be stymied by one
reason or another,” he said.
According to Escduero, he
will introduce a legislation that will require the posting of surety
or cash bonds from parties who will seek injunctions against an
ongoing government project.
He said these bonds will be
equivalent to the amount added to the actual project cost as a result
of the delay and should also cover the economic losses of the
government arising from the delay.
“The government currently
has fiscal spaces, the transportation agency should take advantage of
this and deliver the much needed improvement to our public transport
system and provide relief to the riding public,” Escudero said.