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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The DOTC announced that there are no bidders for MRT3 maintenance provider last 20th of January 2015, the second bidding. The same thing had happened on Oct. 28, 2014, the first bidding. The LRT-1 bidding failed earlier, Oct. 24. So did the one for LRT-2 only last Dec. 23.

The DOTC will accept direct negotiation with other company instead? Or, with the failed MRT-3 bidding, DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya indefinitely can retain the joint venture of Global-APT (Global Epcom and Autre Porte Technique) - the present contractors will be extended month-to-month. That means continued sloppy upkeep of MRT-3, and spare parts shortage at LRT-1 and -2. Why?

It would be month-to-month for P57 million, for as long as he wishes? This is another issue for Jun Abaya if his critics will pursue such decision. Likewise, I think, the Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya is always ready to answer their doubts because he strategized every step in building the planned moves.

Of all the immediate concern for MRT3 commuters is safe travel on the trains from point and point B and over the past few months, the system has drawn criticism for recurrent breakdowns due to mechanical glitches. Last August MRT-3 was forced to suspend operations due to mechanical and communication failures. The 15-year-old MRT has been plagued by technical problems and overcrowding.

The worst of these train service disruptions, due to maintenance shortfalls, took place, with the derailment of a southbound train that sent almost 40 people to hospital for injuries. Passenger safety has come off as the more critical issue plaguing the elevated railways system than the source of subsidies for the entire system. It involves life and death while continuing its operation.

While the government unilaterally raised metro train fares by 50-80 percent, with no upgrade in service or facilities. Majority of the people doubting this fare increases would be siphoned into a huge pork barrel fund to finance public works projects through such schemes as the Disbursement Acceleration Program rather than to improve in the metro rail system to make it more efficient and safer for commuters to travel between their homes and jobs?

Some bidders complained about the strict requirements of DOTC which is impossible to attain. Others find the bidding as a ploy of DOTC Secretary so that no bidders will truthfully abide by it that Global-APT (Global Epcom and Autre Porte Technique) continues as the maintenance provider. What really amazed them is that, the people behind this APT-Global are members of Liberal Party.

Then, suddenly, he implemented the treacherous MRT-LRT fare increase just to justify or hastens the move for government side. Waves of disappointments were felt by the train commuters and supporters who demanded for development first before increasing the fare; supposedly for DOTC Secretary to propel the entire financial status of this endeavor in eliminating such drastic move. Devising the amount to be used in 2015 budget’s being evaluated and studied the projected subsidies.

Others doubted his planned moves as the way to expedite an amount to be used this coming 2016 election?

Majority of Filipinos are hoping for them to show that the government decisions now still can give the positive results for their lives.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The fare hike mania of MRT-LRT is making waves of disappointments to some militants groups, political opposition leaders, the commuters, the Senate and majority of Filipinos.

It’s been deliberately announced by the DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya in time with December holidays when none of its critics can take action about the fare hike. Moreover, the DOTC’s going ahead with its decision, the administration was turning a deaf ear to the clamor to suspend the increases until it can show improvements in the services of the metro rail system. The public protests against the Administration clamor to abort the fare increases and flaunted its insensitivity and arrogance to public demands.

The commuters expect the Administration to take action of the train improvements rather than increasing the fare. For, it’s ill-timed in what they’re experiencing in the past. The fare increases would prove disadvantageous to the public, especially the poor. It would worsen the traffic condition in Metro Manila, as these would drive many commuters to ride in buses and jeepneys.

Even Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero vowed to confront Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad over the “treacherous’’ increase of mass transit fare. Both accused the Department of Transportation and Communication of putting one over the public by enforcing the fare increase of the Metro Rail Transit and Light Rail Transit without consulting them beforehand.

The increase, they argued, was ill-timed because Congress approved allocations for MRT and LRT in the P2.606-trillion 2015 national budget, and that MRT has not fixed its glitches.

Other Filipinos think negatively that Secretay Abaya, as the ruling Liberal Party’s acting President has made it a source of dirty money for election 2016. They concluded that such billion-peso corruption been prevented, there would be no need for the fare hike.

The Administration deal with its critics by reasoning out that it’s time to increase the fare because past administration had done nothing to do the increase. The political will to apply the train fare hike’s hard but necessary to maintain the operation.

Because of its strict requirements for second bidding in accepting as MRT3 maintenance provider, none has the guts to continue the bidding process. But Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya is very much alive in maintaining the strict selection of maintenance company. The DOTC will find another way to secure a maintenance provider through direct transaction with them.

Is this another way of the Administration to elude the public in contracting its own partner in dealing MRT3 issues? If the bidding requirements are too strict to follow, then, they are strategizing the effect of fare hike and the maintenance provider. The thing that the Administration could suffice to give for its present situation is the specific move for clarification. It’s totally hard to accept but the clear governance could.

The Filipinos felt the MRT-LRT fare hike as a clamp to their way of living. Demands for the train development are more important to them. Nevertheless, commuters cannot understand fully the issues behind the fare hike. More or less they pretend that the present Administration will help them not to squeeze their budget.

In the future, we can say, after these issues on how the Administration can solve by their prowess of people’s initiatives.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

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,” he said.

Moreover, the fare-hike for three mass train system, resulted different sentiments to all sectors which angered them all. These sentiments ballooned to more disappointments from train commuters who suffered most. The thing that the DOTC Secretary had done was “no show” to explain on his side.

The whining of Senator Grace Poe: Wondered why the DOTC imposed the increase after its 2015 budget, including allocations for the rehabilitation of the MRT and LRT, was approved, and without giving the public due notice. She also wondered why the DOTC did not inform lawmakers about the fare increase when it asked for subsidy in the supplemental budget. That early, we could have removed this, and put it in the programs of the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and DepEd (Department of Education),’’ she said.

More organizations were very vocal against the train fare hike like BAYAN MUNA Representative Neri Colmenares, BUHAY Representative Lito Atienza, and AKO BICOL Representative Rodel Batocabe. And even Senator Escudero observed that the government did not hold public hearings before announcing the increase. There was no public hearing whatsoever, unlike in raising jeepney, bus, or taxi rates. The DOTC simply said the increase was overdue for years, without detailing why it should be 50 percent and not just, say, 5 percent, or even as high as 500 percent, as computed by railway experts.

Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya surprised all concerned leaders, media people, news companies and citizens of the Philippines, that for the past months, he 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.

What more could we do with the Secretary right now when he’s very busy for Papal visit? Remember, he’s a transportation secretary, not only in mass train system under his concern but also the whole transportation industry in the Philippines.

The DOTC Secretary, together with the government of Pnoy Administration believed the political will to survive even when worst comes to worst for the Philippine governance?

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