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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.

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