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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

It has been noted to all concerned leaders, media people, news companies and citizens of the Philippines, that for the past months, Secretary Emilio Abaya was very much alive with his planned strategies on how to tackled MRT3 problems and continued to move forward with his leadership for the good of the commuters. While at the same time, never had a wink of giving MRT Holdings its proposition for business unification. Even the Senate cannot twisted his firmed ways to solve this gigantic problem of the MRT3 drama that buyout was the only option.

Is he on track with his move? The Pnoy Administration’s truly involved and believed the same way as he did. Moreover, he has the support for this MRT3 endeavor all along.

The Department of Transportation and Communication’s Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya issued Department Order No 2014-014 setting the new fares for the three mass train system in Metro Manila; MRT3, LRT-1 and LRT-2. “It’s a tough decision, but it had to be made. It’s been several years since an increase was proposed. We delayed its implementation one last time until after the Christmas season. While 2015 will see increased fares, it will also see marked improvements in our LRT and MRT services. The Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya has decided to adopt a uniform distance-based fare scheme for MRT-3 as well as LRT-1 and LRT-2 pursuant to the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan. It is envisioned that this fare scheme will result in an equitable distribution of government funds currently dedicated to subsidizing the operations of the above rail lines in Metro Manila to much-needed development projects and relief operations in other parts of Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.”

DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya’s Department Order made a gigantic response from every sector of the Philippine society. It created much disappointment to some opposition leaders, train commuters, some Senators and even ordinary Filipino citizens. It has its own way of surprising concerned people while maintaining his stand about the issue. He downplayed the MTR audit team’s warning, stressing that government is addressing the issue on worn out rail tracks and scarcity of spare rails, “We’re not just sitting down on the issue of rails, we are addressing it. We have procured rails, and in fact we are doing more than what MTR is suggesting by replacing 6 kilometers of rails instead of the 1.2 kilometers they suggested.” The DOTC has allotted P81.5 million to procure 608 pieces of new 12-meter steel rails for MRT 3. Pending the awarding of the contract and the supply of the new rails, the MRT 3 is borrowing spare rails from the LRT 2 due to its depleted stocks of spare rails. Aside from the rail replacement, the government is also procuring a new maintenance contractor for the MRT 3 line. The DOTC has recently increased the approved budget for the three-year MRT 3 maintenance contract to P2.4 billion from P2.2 billion allocated during the failed first bidding. The new maintenance provider will be the one to replace worn out rails with new ones.

What could be the utmost solution for MRT3 train system; management and operations, when the DOTC Secretary himself moved to increase fares and showed that the government can handle, maintain, monitor and develop the MRT3 –EDSA?

Likewise, the government should create more trusted actions to alleviate the disappointment at present before implementing the fare increase next month. It’s more than doing things right than to do things to iron-out past mistakes.

Therefore, an added action plan and strategies to be developed and maintained by the DOTC in instilling the public trust. It’s not only the leadership, not only the MRT3, but all mass transportation of the country.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The DOTC wanted the MRT3 buyout through the 54 billion pesos of 2015 budget, but is confused on what to do about MRT3? Or worse, purposely confusing the public for some ulterior motive we can only imagine to happen?

The P54 billion DOTC wants would not buy out the original private owners as DOTC officials are publicly claiming. That large sum of money will only redeem MRT bonds now being held by GFIs. In other words, they would just move money from one government pocket to the other, something they are already doing now with the lease payments.

In the past months, Secretary of DOTC Jun Abaya had so many announcements for this buyout. He even declared the greatest confidence in completing this buyout when the 2015 budget’s released. The two biggest MRT-3 investors are Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), which have majority representation in the MRTC board, including the board chairman. He placed the value of the two banks’ exposure at $619.1 million, plus a “return” of $312 million for a total of $931.1 million. He valued “non-DBP/LBP investments” at $95.8 million. His funding request also included $143 million for taxes and $2 million for legal fees.

The Senate through Escudero said, senators do not believe that the buyout plan, if it pushes through, would solve the problems plaguing the MRT-3. The P53.9 billion would just go to two state banks holding 80 percent of bonds sold by MRT Corp. (MRTC), the owner of the EDSA rail line, and none to its maintenance and private investors. The P6 billion they kept in the budget “is for payment of taxes under the BOT (build-operate-transfer) contract (with investors), which is one of the components of the MRT buyout plan.”

Senator Chiz Escudero informed congressmen of the Senate’s decision to scrap funding for the planned government takeover of the rail system during the bicameral conference committee on the 2015 budget. The conference committee will convene again to agree on the proposed changes in the 2015 budget and possibly vote on the measure.

A buyout would also not stop lawsuits against the government and the net effect of the Senate decision to deny funding for the buyout plan is that such takeover would not push through. The plan will be derailed because the government will not have the necessary funds for it. The P54 billion be appropriated to jumpstart the Metro Manila subway project as recommended by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The senators could not just block the government’s solution to MRT-3 woes without offering alternatives and as long as such problems persist, the safety of the more than 600,000 MRT-3 commuters daily would be in peril.

Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya has been saying that buying out the owners of MRT3 to the tune of P54 billion is necessary to start the rehabilitation of the system. He called that process Equity Value Buyout or EVBO which is provided for in the contract. First of all, the EVBO is a remedy available only to MRTC and would require DOTC to be in breach of agreements and go into default. A default on the part of government would affect the country’s credit rating and should not be resorted to lightly.

DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya on the Senate’s scrapping of the buyout fund? He would face the Senate and the MRT Holdings to facilitate his goals for this MRT3 buyout. Given more reasons why they needed the 54 billion pesos is not enough to uplift the MRT3-EDSA train development and operations. It will only be paid to the two banks but cannot be for the whole improvement.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

MRT3-EDSA has been the center of negative whatnots in the past. Lots of controversies were building up while the government, through the Department of Transportation Commission (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Abaya was spreading the so-called equity value buyout of the MRT-3’s operator, Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC), was progressing despite thorny legal issues, including the latter’s suit filed in an arbitration court in Singapore. The buyout was ordered by President Aquino last year to end the huge rental fees guaranteed to its private operator.

Is the government buying out MRT 3? But what will happen now that the Philippine government wants to take over MRT 3?

The department earlier awarded a contract to China’s CNR Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. Ltd. to supply 48 new train cars for MRT-3. This was in response to heavy congestion at the railway line, which was operating well above its intended capacity of 350,000 people a day. The new trains are expected to be delivered in batches starting the first half of 2015, the department announced in an earlier statement.

The Government could have avoided all the current and potential legal hassles in this MRT3 capacity expansion project had DOTC only abided by the 1999 BLT agreement and allowed MRTC to do its job of choosing the M&O contractor for this EDSA rail line.

The MRT3 is the lifeblood of every commuter along EDSA who sees it as their means of transportation for their daily existence. Their expectations for services render must be maximized for the common good. The Filipino people are the users of this train system who wanted comfortable and efficient operations and management. Upgrading the MRT3 train system for development is clearly visible for government to continue the hassles of the past.

The buyout for MRT3 evolved from DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya for the last months when the dilapidated relation of the government to MRT Holdings and MRTC are vanished despite the fact that MRTC’s Bob Sobrepena’s interview with a famous media network. Senate hearing ensued and both parties lay down their cards for the Senate and the Filipino people to clearly understand the background of the case; likewise, the train system breakdowns and the drama of the maintenance provider.

MRT3 buyout by the government seems to be the option at hand ever since? But private shareholders of the MRTC insist that the value falls short from its total equity value, and pointed out that the P56 billion only accounts for the bonds controlled by the two state-run banks which could not satisfy the whole buyout. It will settle the bonds first costing 100 Billion pesos before the government can complete the buyout.

The budget for the year 2015 cannot suffice for the MRT3 buyout and the people’s money are really the main point in completing this buyout? And, why the DOTC wanted so much for the MRT3 buyout?

We can give so much opinion for this purpose but the fact remains unclear all the time. It’s for Filipino people and Pnoy Administration to think wisely if the buyout could give positive result in the long run.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A freelance writer who meticulously structured and maintained blogs just for you:A LIFE SO FAR AWAYand my other blog:OFW: THIS IS MY LIFE AND STORY Thank you for your valuable time. Follow my business & writings and you'll find what life's meant to be.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Failed Bidding For MRT3 Maintenance, A Sign of Inefficiency? #ExpertWriter

After a long squabble of MRTC and DOTC for the management and operation of MRT3-EDSA, it came to the point that the riding public was very much disgusted with the government ways of solving this issue. Even from the onset of this Build-Lease-Transfer (BLT) Agreement, failure seems to be founded in all direction, by which, series of negative images of people handling this MRT3 contracts are doomed.

The DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya still showing what seems to be his forte in dealing with this MRT3 train system problems. He dictated the mandate of being a leader, but lacks the knowledge of how to give solutions for this never-ending MRT3 saga.

The MRT Holdings and MRTC are more likely the thing of the past. Trying to help the ailing MRT3 train system by which, Robert Sobrepena opened-up his way in uniting with the government for this purpose.

The Senate hearing who conducted the findings of MRT3 story, never give the true worth of eliminating the problems and giving constructive solutions. Instead, the DOTC still, continuing its high hopes of deciphering series of their moves to put forward the MRT3 development.

Another facet of this movement is to perform the bid of companies who are interested in dealing with MRT3 maintenance; interested bidders include DMCI Holdings Incorporated, Miescorrail Incorporated of the Manila Electric Company, Busan Metro of Korea, the joint venture of Mosa - Inekon of Czech Republic, and SMRT International Pte. Ltd.

The government deferred the bids submission twice, last October 13 and 28 of 2014 in which failure showed overtime for DOTC. Interested companies for this bidding cannot comprehend the DOTC’s ruling. Some of the concerns raised by prospective bidders were the amount of penalties to be imposed by the government on the maintenance contractor for certain violations, plus the key performance indicators (KPIs) to be delivered. In fact interested businessmen knew the dilapidated situation of MRT3 platform and yet, the new rulings for bidders are far more realistic in nature.

There’s no doubt that the DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya was not able to project the outcome of this failed bidding that constitute the effectiveness of his decision-making strategy; how and when to do such positive moves while he’s busy promoting the presidential bid of Mar Roxas. Why not concentrate fully for the transportation problems especially the MRT3 and LRT which needs constant monitoring and development?

The government must review the terms of reference for the 3-year maintenance contract due to the issues raised by the prospective bidders which is set to republish the new terms and conditions. And, rebidding ensues this month as what the DOTC reported. It prefers a longer maintenance contract to replace the current maintenance provider Autre Porte Technique Global Incorporated (APT) and its local partner, Global Incorporated.

The longer this bidding process for the selected maintenance provider, the longer it takes to facilitate the movement of the MRT3 development. The The Department of Transportation and Communications DOTC Secretary should maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of his mandate to instill the train system for the good of the riding public and the Filipinos as a whole.

Monday, October 20, 2014

MRT3 Buyout, A DOTC Strategy? #ExpertWriter

The MRT3 is the lifeblood of every commuter along EDSA who sees it as their means of transportation for their daily existence. Their expectations for services render must be maximized for the common good. The Filipino people are the users of this train system who wanted comfortable and efficient operations and management. Upgrading the MRT3 train system for development is clearly visible for government to continue the hassles of the past.

The buyout for MRT3 evolved from DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya for the last months when the dilapidated relation of the government to MRT Holdings and MRTC are vanished despite the fact that MRTC’s Bob Sobrepena’s interview with a famous media network. Senate hearing ensued and both parties lay down their cards for the Senate and the Filipino people to clearly understand the background of the case; likewise, the train system breakdowns and the drama of the maintenance provider.

MRT3 buyout by the government seems to be the option at hand ever since?

The DOTC’s only pretending to buy MRTC but they're just buying 27 billion worth of bonds to complete the 100% ownership. The government is waiting for the 2015 budget of 54 billion to process the same.

The DOTC said earlier that modernizing and upgrading MRT-3 are critical to improve the services to passengers in terms of both safety and convenience, formed a transition team composed of engineers and staff of the MRT-3 Office and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) to closely monitor and assist maintenance work on the MRT-3 system. The move is intended to give government a direct role in ensuring that safety requirements are met and protocols are properly followed on a daily basis in the interest of the riding public.

The APT Global, DOTC Maintenance Provider said, received 1.4 million USD per month supposedly with spare parts. But actually the DOTC is not providing the spare parts to us. It’s been dragging the problems to a more extreme ways until next year during the budget approval.

Major upgrades that are already underway are the addition of 48 brand new train cars and the automation of the railway ticketing system. The new train cars will increase passenger capacity by 66 percent. This means that the current three-car configuration will be made into four-car sets, and that trains will arrive at 2.5-minute intervals instead of the current three minutes. The prototype unit of the new train cars will be tested on the system by August 2015, and once approved, three to four new units will be delivered every month thereafter. While complete delivery of the 48 train cars will be only accomplished in December 2016, each monthly delivery will already afford partial relief to riders.

As such, really, the government wanted an MRT3 buyout for complete operations and management? But they cannot do that without the MRTC approvals. So, the government needs the 2015 budget to buy bonds to complete the 100% ownership of MRT3.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said, Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) Equity Value BuyOut (EVBO) may be expected to take place in the first week of January 2015.

A compromise agreement with MRTC is a must for this purpose and the process of completing the EVBO would have to be agreed on by the Office of the Solicitor General, Landbank, Development Bank of the Philippines, and the DOTC.

The The Department of Transportation and Communications DOTC Secretary is firm when he said, “As long as there is no change in policy, there is an EO (Executive Order) to execute the EVBO. The government’s long-term plan for the MRT-3 is to implement the equity value buy-out of the system’s private-sector owner Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC) as provided for in the Build-Lease-Transfer (BLT) Concession Agreement. Under Executive Order No. 167 s. 2013, the DOTC and the Department of Finance (DOF) are tasked to implement the EVBO to put an end to an ongoing arbitration case in Singapore between the DOTC and the MRTC. The EVBO will terminate the Concession Agreement and transfer ownership of the MRT-3 to the government, saving billions of pesos in equity rental payments paid annually to MRTC by the government. What is critical is the 2015 budget, because the P54 billion (the amounted needed for the EVBO) is in 2015’s budget. If the budget is passed it is in there so we could expect it to roll in the first week of January 2015. The BLT provides for a formula on how to execute the EVBO so there is no room for negotiations. We are buying everything out. The bonds, the remaining equity interest in private hands. The objective at the end of the day is 100 percent government control.”

Therefore, the DOTC was rolling its strategies for MRT3 thing while aiming for the 2015 budget to completely control the bonds. They’re very positive about 54 billion to actually give them the edge over the MRT Holdings. The bonds will create them to fully utilize every transaction without the approval of MRTC, which in turn could hinder to DOTC plans.

Watch this video for complete information behind the DOTC and MRTC relationship

Monday, October 13, 2014

MRT3 Shutdown Is An Excellent Option #ExpertWriter

First and foremost, the government’s vision and mission: to give total services and safe commuter’s system to the riding public. Being the elected leaders of our country, we need to think, cooperate and extend help to our government and to give them ways on how to address the problems nationwide especially the MRT3-EDSA. We don’t have to add negative elements to the dilapidated situation of our train system, but to think positively and spread the goodness to all. It’s within the context of our society that our Filipino image is built through characters, attitude and patriotism. How can we put forward to the future when our sentiments and loyalty always the same, same old ways in judging our leaders?

Remember, that each leader or President has its own personality, vision and mission in life especially in the political arena. We must help our leaders not to put negative aspect of their leadership into a pendulum-type of decision-making attitude.

In this case of MRT3 problems, even since the conception and until now, the story goes on and on while the riding public is not comfortable with the outcome of negotiations of The Department of Transportation and Communications DOTC to its private business partners the MRT II Holdings represented by MRTC’s Manager Robert Sobrepena. The public are in constant fear of their lives when using the train system along EDSA. Moreover, the breakdowns showed that it needed renovation for longer lifespan of the operations. Likewise, both partners, the DOTC and MRTC are not in good relationship with each other that made this chaotic situation to its extreme limits.

To ease passengers' suffering caused by recurring breakdowns of the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT3), its key stakeholders are in agreement over a possible temporary shutdown of the line. The private shareholder of the Metro Rail Rail Transit Corporation, the concessionaire of the MRT3, agrees, then, this is the time that the DOTC should come into the open to compromise things to be done for the good of everybody. "If safety is a clear issue, we have to shut down the rails," Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in an interview with ABS-CBN on Thursday, October 9.

The MRT3 shutdown is possible for this stage because of its old-age train system and accessories. First thing the DOTC should do is to sit down with the MRTC’s Bob Sobrepena for possible compromise agreement with MRTC together with MRT II Holdings. Let the agreement starts to be positive that both parties can gain substantial business revenues. The government operates MRT3 under a build-lease-transfer (BLT Agreement) contract with Metro Rail Transit Corp (MRTC), which is majority owned by privately-held MRT II Holdings. This agreement must be followed by both parties to put forward the MRT3 operations and management to its clear destination in the modern future. But always, there’s specific time frame for every moves to be successful.

The next moves of the PPP as partnership, should appoint an expert leader to oversee the whole operations and management from planning up to the actual renovation and monitoring.

Another facet’s the riding public along EDSA through designated and scheduled buses to augment the volume of commuters each hour. This should be managed and monitored by an expert leader just for this purpose.

Likewise, the new MRT3 should be new and improved that could accommodate the volume of the riding. As much as possible, the planned MRT3 extension must be carried out after the renovation.

In addition, the DOTC and MRTC must bid for an expert maintenance and engineering providers for a longer period of time agreements. The purpose is to have a clear responsibility for their jobs as well as enthusiasm in maintaining the country train system.

The operations and management of the new renovated MRT3 should have strict but fair standard operating procedures to all staff and management. The rules and regulations of MRT3 should be implemented at all times to have high productivity for all employees.

In my observation, the MRT3 operations have lots of tellers but short in management people to monitor the daily operation. Likewise, their visibility in the front end is not known, instead, maybe, at the back office?

The DOTC and MRTC should move faster now for MRT3 renovation to avoid the same problems in the future.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Senate Hearing Mends a Broken Relationship of DOTC and MRTC? #ExpertWriter

The latest Senate hearing was prompted by various resolutions seeking shed light the different facets of MRTC and DOTC unified responsibilities through the PPP and the Build-Lease-Transfer (BLT) Agreement as the starting point of the MRT3 Train System in EDSA.

MRTC Bob Sobrepena revealed that the government was buying the bonds up to the point it acquired 80%, thus, appointing MRTC Chairman Tomas de Leon where The Department of Transportation and Communications DOTC Secretary Emilio Abaya greatly corresponded the entire transactions.

The government appointed Chairman Tomas de Leon to pacify the ownership of this MRT3 through the foreign investors who tried to control this business transaction with the knowledge of MRTC Bob Sobrepena, in line with the agreement that it will give assurance to their unified responsibilities in the operations and management of MRT3.

It’s been noted that the two entities; MRTC and DOTC are squabbling each other because of not following each other responsibilities wherein arbitration case was filed in Singapore court for this purpose. Since then, MRTC was not on the loop anymore where the DOTC acted upon the operations as per the assessment of the government. It’s been the responsibility of the DOTC to continue the MRT3 train operations and management to survive for its function in giving the riding public good services.

What they are trying to obtain such ownership and responsibilities became the nightmare of the riding public in MRT3-EDSA. Even though the DOTC are finding the solutions of the chaos brought about by their miscommunication, blaming each other is not an option. They have to compromise and work together to put forward the MRT3 O&M and the future development thereon.

As for the maintenance issue, MRTC’s Bob SobrepeƱa pointed out those problems only arose after the DOTC terminated the contract with Sumitomo Corporation in 2012; that Sumitomo had a "single point responsibility" to design, build, and maintain the trains. The most important loss was of the single point responsibility. This loss has now led to the current state of finger-pointing. Sumitomo handled everything including parts and service. Nothing else has to be bought by the government or the private sector.
DOTC was violating the BLT Agreement that caused the MRT3 breakdowns and train system maintenance should be for Sumitomo Corporation that has knowledge of the design and maintain the trains.

PPP should be implemented amicably by both public and private entities. There will be some changes or alterations in the plans, but the compromising method should be applied for the betterment of the common good. If private entity moves only with the revenues to collect and not doing positive actions for the people, then, the government must initiate to iron-out the differences at hand. The Filipino people expected them to lead and give solutions for any problem that may be solved and acted upon.

The Senate hearing is an excellent way for MRTC and DOTC to sit down and come up with positive compromises in settling this dilapidated contract squabbling. It is a fact that people who manages businesses or corporations tends to battle their God-given talent to win and be successful. They don’t make amends just for the sake of the common employees.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

As one of the leader of Pnoy Administration and a DOTC Secretary, Mr. Emilio Abaya should have the thorough knowledge of all the Transportation businesses in the Philippines. Thus, MRT3 train Operations and Management (O&M) is one of its components that should be given total focus because of its complexity in any facets of the system.

The management of MRT3 ‘s tarnished with negativity wherein the Ombudsman will investigate alleged involvement of Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya with officials accused of graft charges for alleged anomalous maintenance contract of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) with a local company.

Former MRT General Manager Al Vitangcol, who resigned last May, was also named in the charge sheet. He and five others faced separate charges of violating the Government Procurement Reform Act. Criminal and administrative charges have been filed against Abaya and 15 others. The contract with PH Trams-CB&T was allegedly awarded without public bidding.

The negative approached played by Al Vitangcol gave way to a more damaged consequences of MRT3 operations and management. The series of train system breakdowns and accidents proved that the decision made by the DOTC head was far from solving the present crisis.

Moreover, behind these problems, the relationship of MRTC and DOTC are not giving positive results to the riding public and to all Filipinos as a whole. Their movements to give total service to the public were created another series of battle between the two. Thus, the The Department of Transportation and Communications DOTC’s still aiming for a buyout to pacify the past and develop new management system. But, is it really the best solution so far?

MRTC and MRTHoldings through Bob Sobrepena, open up to the media about their side and the true status of MRT3. Thus, wanted to unify with DOTC but suggested a privatization of the operations and management of MRT3-EDSA train system.

The DOTC Secretary said about the investigation, “I have nothing to hide and no reason to fear any investigation. As always, we will cooperate fully with the investigation of the Office of the Ombudsman, just as we have with investigation undertaken by different branches and agencies of government, such as the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the National Bureau of Investigation. We remain committed to transparency and the eradication of corruption in government. Ultimately, it is the public that will benefit from the search for truth.”

He will face this investigation for sure, and Al Vitangcol should be investigated too, together with others. Records at the National Statistics Office showed that Vitangcol was related by affinity to Arturo Soriano, a representative of the PH TRAM-CB&T that negotiated the contract. Inekon Group Chief Executive Officer Josef Jusek and Czech Ambassador Joseph Rychtar accused Vitangcol of demanding a bribe in exchange for service and maintenance contract for MRT.

Only the truth will prevail and if found guilty, they should be penalized accordingly.

Another angle for this investigation is the eradication of public officials who are doing public contracts while lifting their vested interest at hand. In the past, majority of them were developing strategies to increase their wealth, adding to their powerful influences and sticking to their hollow political ideologies.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What You Should Know About MRTC And DOTC Controversy #ExpertWriter

In the onset of MRT3 Train Project at EDSA with the Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC) and DOTC as the prime mover and unification of the on-going work through Build-Lease-Transfer (BLT) agreement. In BLT, the MRTC has the right to upgrade the train and system because Metro Rail Transit Holdings (MRTH) are the private investors behind MRTC to build the system and the government will operate it. So, whatever proposals of MRTC in the development of the MRT3, the government must unite hand-in-hand and enable to approve the same. This was not followed because government didn't agree to the proposals of MRTC, and it means DOTC did not follow the agreement.

The government bought 80% of the economic interests of MRTC, including bonds and other instruments representing future payments. This meant that government banks are now entitled to collect 80% of the ERP’s that government itself was paying. But it is not the same thing as buying ownership of the train system.

The original private investors, through MRT Holdings, still claim to be the ones who own the train system. MRT Holdings still own shares of MRTC and even managed to sue the Philippine government over the purchase of new trains.

MRT Holdings wants to be the one to purchase new trains because it thinks that it can charge the government another 15% for the installation of new passenger capacity. Government is right in rejecting this arrangement by the private investors. However, government officials involved in the purchase of trains also want to profit from the transaction through kickbacks. Remember the incident involving the Czech ambassador of Inekon and former MRTC Manager, Al Vitangcol?

The circus of purchasing trains became open; the government grabbed the opportunity to manage the MRT3 and told Al Vitangcol to resign. His resignation brought much controversy about the maintenance company he approved for the bidding process, the CB&T and PH Trams.

Since 2012, Bob Sobrepena was not on the loop for every transaction of the government. Also Sumitomo Maintenance Company was out who mastered the train operation and its system. Thus, train breakdowns began to show resulting to chaos that the riding public and media people are questioning the integrity of MRT3 train operations.

Again, another bidding for the maintenance company that APT Global won the one-year maintenance contract worth P685 million or around P57 million a month. It was during APT’s term that the worst MRT accident took place after one of the trains overshot the terminal in Pasay Taft. The government and the private investors (MRT Holdings) are to blame for the woes faced by commuters.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to take over the MRT3 and fix the problems of capacity and poor maintenance or as it’s suggested by Bob Sobrepena to talk it over in a meeting between the two.

A government buyout costing billions will be all for nothing, if it’s direction is re-privatization. Again, MRT3 take-over and returning to privatization’s not an option. The government must uplift the train services benefitting the taxpayers and whole economy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

For the longest time, MRT3 has been subjected to public hearing after the derailment last August 13, 2014. Senate was looking into the constant train breakdowns which caused the riding public to question the management of MRT3. Is it the DOTC, as what the majority of Filipinos believed to be at fault? Or, the MRTC who built up this project along with DOTC?

Really, if an ordinary Filipino doesn’t know the facts behind the MRT3-EDSA train project, it’s always Secretary of DOTC Jun Abaya will be haunted by these nightmares every day. The people behind MRTC didn’t have the courage to talk openly, while the DOTC was at the forefront of controversies.

From the onset of Vitangcol case up to this Senate probe, the future of MRT3 is like a roller coaster, or, a derailed roller coaster?

It’s not easy to manage the MRT3 train system, every manager knows that, but if the management doesn’t have the expertise to run the operations, then, it’s a disaster. If the DOTC and MRTC have divided notions of what the MRT3 management’s all about, then, more disasters may follow.

An Accession Undertaking and an Assignment and Assumption Agreement was executed which gave MRTC all rights and obligations to the Project agreements during the debt repayment period and establish MRTC as the Project borrowing entity.

The government on the other hand was among the entity to develop with MRTC by the BLT Agreement which governs their relationship in building the said MRT3 Project. As all the terms in those prior agreements were superseded by the provisions of the BLT Agreement.

Build-Lease-Transfer Agreement is a form of project financing, wherein a private entity receives a concession from the private or public sector to finance, design, construct, and operate a facility stated in the concession contract. This enables the project proponent to recover its investment, operating and maintenance expenses in the project.

So, this BLT Agreement is under the MRTC and DOTC to provide the riding public the total services needed to operate the train system at MRT3-EDSA. Why all of the sudden, breakdowns started to appear at all angles, wherein the DOTC or MRTC cannot give solutions to these problems?

Is it because in October 2012, the maintenance contract was awarded to PH Trams and CB&T? And, in September 2013, the contract was awarded to APT & Global Inc. by the DOTC and will expire on Sept. 5, 2014, and another bid will be held?

Maybe because the latest company that the DOTC was approved didn’t have the proper expertise to run the maintenance problems at MRT3, or, the train system’s old and needed changes?

Secretary Jun Abaya had the expertise to manage the MRT3? In addition, the MRTC had the knowledge of all the DOTC’s transactions?
More questions could be asked for these people who are managing the MRT3 in which, more and more Filipinos were affected by this roller coaster decision-making. Nevertheless, it’s the DOTC that suffered more than the MRTC, in the eyes of the public.

The Senate hearing could be the wakeup call for DOTC people to prioritize the welfare of the riding public than their revenues. It’s their duty to extend their time to study, learn, and apply the proper ways to manage the train system.

Hoping for Senator Grace Poe and other Senators to build bridges with DOTC head Jun Abaya in continuing the total services to be given to Filipinos; if the plan of the government to acquire the MRT3 management. At least, if the buyout will push through, the government will give much full attention to these problems of MRT3-EDSA.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Two Dragons Are Fighting For MRT3-EDSA? But Why And Who Is The Winner? #ExpertWriter

As the story of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC) continues, and while other problems evolved continuously, still, the train system continued its never-ending breakdowns. Even the Inspection Audit of Train experts from Hongkong had nothing to give much positive solutions from the two “Dragons” fighting each other.

How could the train operation be properly managed when DOTC and MRTC were throwing “Dragon’s Fire” with each other? The riding public, employees, media and ordinary people in the Philippines and abroad cannot fathom what’s going on behind the deal of this MRT3-EDSA Project.

“The government is looking at striking a compromise with MRTC within the third quarter to allow the government to buy back full ownership of the 17-kilometer mass transit system along EDSA. The agreement involves the buyout of MRTC’s shares in MRT3. The government will allot P55 billion to P56 billion to buy out the private owners of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3),” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said.

Well, of course, because of the complex story behind this project, the government wanted a buyout to elevate the train system operations and maintenance, to augment with the devastated management image through the DOTC.

Another problem the government’s facing: MRTC filed an arbitration case in Singapore against the Philippine government in January 2009 due to failure to pay equity rentals in a timely manner, while another case was filed against the government recently over the decision of the DOTC to award a P3.8 billion contract to CNR Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co. of China for the supply of 48 brand new light rail vehicles for MRT3.

The government requires the arbitration blessing from Singapore Court, and the DOTC is confident in the completion of the planned buyout as the government has enough seats in the board of MRTC. Until when, this blessing be given?

Since 2009, the DOTC-MRTC relationship was already becoming damaged and MRTC filed an arbitration suit against the Philippines in Singapore because of the delayed rental payments.

The government said it has paid MRTC P35.2 billion since 2000. Throughout that time, MRTC did not acquire new coaches or upgraded key systems of the line, like the crucial signaling and ticketing systems because, it said, the government did not pay its rent promptly.

The following year, President Aquino issued orders to expand the MRT-3 capacity by buying new coaches but the build-lease-transfer agreement gives the owners, MRTC, the right of first refusal.

The government must remember always that this MRT3 Project were agreed upon through Build-Lease-Transfer (BLT) Agreement in 1997 that didn’t allowed MRTC to do its job of choosing the M&O contractor for this EDSA rail line.

According to Wikipedia, The BLT Agreement was signed by DOTC and Metro Rail on August 8, 1997 and amended on October 16, 1997; it constitutes a restatement of similar agreements dating back to the first such contract, which was signed on November 7, 1991. That agreement was restated on April 22, 1992, and the restated agreement was supplemented on May 6, 1993, and amended on July 28, 1994 and May 1996. Another restatement was signed on October 3, 1996. All the terms in those prior agreements were superseded by the provisions of the BLT Agreement.

The BLT Agreement governs the relationship between Metro Rail and DOTC during the Project’s two major phases, construction and revenue service. During the construction phase, Metro Rail was obliged to construct the Project (Phase 1) and to complete that construction by a certain date (the “Date Certain”). The construction was to be accomplished in accordance with the specifications and drawings approved by the DOTC and the completed system capable of achieving certain capacity requirements.

Metro Rail was also obligated to provide all equipment that was to be used in the system, including the rail vehicles. The DOTC’s obligations during the construction phase included granting Metro Rail access to the Project site (including relocating squatters and other persons from the Depot area) and ensuring that certain work to be performed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (“DPWH”) was completed properly and on time. In addition, the DOTC accepted the responsibility for certain events that could delay completion of the system. Should such events occur, DOTC would be responsible for paying the costs of the event and the delay it causes, and the date by which Metro Rail is obliged to complete construction would be adjusted.

After completion, Metro Rail was obligated to lease the system to DOTC, who would operate the system, with Metro Rail providing the maintenance. DOTC was required to make payments of Rental Fees to Metro Rail, and these were broken down into several different portions. One significant part was intended to repay the loans taken out to finance the Project (“Debt Rental Fees”).

Robert John Sobrepena, was Metro Rail's Chairman and CEO, overseeing all aspects of the Project from Financing to Construction and turn over. Laurence Weldon, President and Chief Operating Officer, oversaw all aspects of construction of the Project. Mr. Weldon was previously connected as project manager of the Los Angeles “Blue Line” Rapid Transit Project before July 1995. In Manila he was supported by Carlos 'Karl' Quirino, Chief Financial Officer, Robert Ball, Vice-President of Technical Services, William Lathrop & Walter Mergelsberg of the Project Management Team and Harry Redstone and their teams for the engineering aspects of the Project.

Remember Robert John Sobrepena, the Chief Executive of Camp John Hay's private operator of CJHDevCo in Baguio, wherein the state-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) filed malversation charges against him?

Really, the knots between these contracts will be of the same disgusted attitude towards him. He fought the “Dragons” with all his might, but he cannot survive for long because of his captivity in a “Dragon’s Lair.” The fighting continued its negative setback for DOTC through the Aquino Administration which also damaged the MRTC image.

The Filipino people wanted a properly managed train system in MRT3-EDSA, but how, when the two Dragons were fighting each other?

Monday, August 18, 2014

MRT3 train went through the metal railings at the Taft Avenue station last Wednesday, 13th of August 2014 that caused injury to at least 38 people and government authorities were eager to discover the cause of the incident.

Authorities will be investigating if the accident was caused by human error on the part of the train operators or by the mechanical failure of the train couplings. The train had stopped dead on its tracks, due supposedly to power drop at the catenary, the stick that links the electricity-powered LRVs to the cable above.

Attempts to restart the train failed. The next three-LRV train unloaded its passengers at Magallanes, and then proceeded to the rescue 50 meters away. After coupling with the stalled train, the second began to push it down the tracks towards road-level Taft. It had just left the Magallanes station. The railway from Magallanes station to Taft Avenue station has a downward slope that made the coupler to snap. Besides, the weight of the first train with passengers caused the gravity to pull like a rollercoaster. Instead of stopping it, the brake malfunctions and gave way to bumped, went through the metal railings that caused damage to the passengers and the train itself.

Is it true that they connected and locked properly? Tested it? If it’s locked, they were doing the right procedures? Is there a coupler’s mechanical failure? Or, the driver’s forgot about the downward slope?

MRT safety procedures require the operator to contain the passengers inside the train if it stalls in between stations. And, it would have been too dangerous to make passengers alight from the stalled train before another train could push it to the nearest station.

The poor maintenance of the MRT3 which is managed by DOTC headed by Jun Abaya wanted to elevate its services. But, he should exert more efforts in developing the train systems for the consumption of the riding public. His statement, “Riding is a personal decision. I won't go of my way to convince people to ride the MRT," makes him a hypocrite, not a leader of DOTC. He should at least, face the consequences when worst comes to worst, because that's his responsibility to the people.

The MRT3 was built on budget and on schedule. It was fully accepted by foreign experts and the Philippine government in 2000. The trains operated with no major accidents for 12 years under Sumimoto maintenance. Sumimoto and Mitsubishi continually upgraded maintenance procedures. All major accidents happened only in the last 2 years under the PHTRAMS-Vitangcol-linked maintenance groups.

Because of this negative image of MRT due to Vittangcol case, the contract turned into a damaging event like what happened last 13th of August 2014. It should never be a clumsy decision when it comes to finding maintenance group to take good care of all coasters. Yes, there were other problems in getting people to manage the MRT3 properly, but, the leader like the DOTC must be on guard always for the good of the riding public. The government must be aware and ready to apply their long-term solutions at once to avoid accidents in the future.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Submit An Article Search Engines Love #ExpertWriter

When you submit an article online in hopes of driving traffic to your website and/or blog you want to make it as seo friendly as possible! The reason for this is simple, although people will likely view what you wrote at the article directories you also want to position yourself to attract search engine traffic as well. Simply stated if you do not optimize the content of your articles they will remain 'invisible' to search engines and you will not show up in any search results.

Here are 3 quick down and dirty tips you can use to make anything you compose for online distribution more seo friendly!

Keyword Research

It all starts with selecting those keywords that have a very 'connectable' relevance to your content, this is where it all begins. By finding the right words that best describe what can be found in your content you are completing the first step in making your article seo friendly! These words will be what people will use when searching online to find information like what your article will contain.

Keyword Placement

After accumulating a list of words applicable to the subject you are writing about you then designate the one word or phrase that best describes your article subject. This will be your primary keyword which you will place in both the title and first and last paragraphs of your article. Secondary keywords can then be sprinkled about your content placing them where they fit the most naturally within your content. Now these words will help people locate your articles sending you targeted search engine traffic which is the best you can get!

Keyword Density

The 'density' of the keywords you use should not be less then 1 percent nor exceed 5 percent as a rule of thumb. Using too few keywords will not give much relevancy to your article while using too many will get you penalized for keyword stuffing. Search engines view this as an attempt to deliberately draw more attention to what you wrote in an attempt to increase the search engine traffic you receive. Above all else when using keywords always be sure to use them in the most natural way since to do otherwise will make your article read strangely.

When you submit an article you of course want it to get noticed and read since this is the only way it will succeed in driving traffic to your site. Of equal and probably greater importance however is you also want to make what you wrote seo friendly to attract as much free search engine traffic as you can!Plainly stated if your composition is not properly optimized with keywords as discussed above the search engines will not be able to find you. This will result in your articles NOT showing up in any search results whatsoever. Ouch! As you can see from the discussion above the steps needed to be taken to better position your articles for attracting search engine traffic are relatively simple. When you consider the volume and quality of the traffic you will attract, to not take these simple steps would be an act of lunacy, or something close to it!

Source: TJ Philpott Affiliate Quick Start.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Article Writing Tips & Guidelines #ExpertWriter

An article can be an update or announcement about your products, services, or company. Writing articles is a fast and effective way to gain online exposure and increase the chance of your company appearing in the first few search results on search engines such as Google.

Why? Because article submissions...

Contain keywords about your products and services. The greater the density or repetition of a keyword within a website, the greater its chance of ranking highly.
Are free, and you can post an unlimited number.
May appear in our newsletter and on our home page the day they are posted.

Keys to writing winning articles:


The title should include the search terms or keywords you want users to find you under when searching for a product or service that your company offers - try to focus on 1-2 keywords per article.


Repeat the exact keyword or phrase from the title throughout the body of the article (at least 4 times) especially in the opening line and paragraph.

Editorial Requirements

In order for your article to be included on this site, we ask that the following guidelines are observed:

Articles must be written impartially - i.e. topical, from a neutral and/or 3rd person standpoint, without superlatives ('best', 'fastest', 'cheapest'), or exaggerated statements ('the largest tool range ever launched!').
Include factual information but don't include costs or prices. Avoid 'sales' style language.
Word Count: 180-350 words in length, with a 50 word minimum.
Text: supplied as a Word document (simple text, unlocked .doc) with a separate image.

Articles may take up to 5 working days to be published on the site, and to appear on search engine pages.

Our editor reserves the right not to publish articles that do not adhere to these guidelines and to make amendments where necessary.

Disclaimer: Catch and its affiliated websites cannot guarantee your company ranking on search engine results pages. Search results are constantly changing and therefore search rankings can move over time.

Source: Fred Holt, M.A. (English) from University of New Jersey, specialized in teaching content writing, business, and technical communication. Go Articles
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