November 20, 2017
Taxpayers and commuters today filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against former Department of Transportation officials and the former private maintenance provider of the MRT 3. The complaint was for the violation of the anti-graft law and the government procurement law, for a P3.8 billion train maintenance contract that the group described as grossly disadvantageous to the public.
Complainants are BAYAN secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr, Bayan Muna Chair Neri Colmenares, TREN members Angelo Suarez, Donna Miranda and James Relativo, and AGHAM secretary general Feny Cosico. Respondents included former DOTC secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, former MRT GM Roman Buenafe, former Undersecretary Rene Limcaoco and other officials involved in the approval of the contract. Also included as respondents were officials of the joint venture that got the maintenance contract.
“The regime of privatization makes looks upon the trian maintenance as a lucrative business, not an essential service to the people. It is the reason why the MRT has deteriorated to the horror ride that it is today. The contract is grossly disadvantageous, and was awarded to a joint venture that is financially and technically unqualified to provide the necessary maintenance. May pinaboran. May kumita. Milyon ang nagdusa,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
The complainants lamented that such as huge project was entered into as a negotiated contract. Big items that did not merit emergency procurement were included in the contract. The awardee that is Joint Venture of Busan appeared to have also circumvented certain safeguards on qualification, according to the complaint. The DOTC relaxed the qualifications for the offerors, in an apparent attempt to favor the winning group.
“This is not just about former DOTC officials. Let this also serve as a warning to current DoTr officials who may be thinking of favoring certain groups that will take over the maintenance and operations of the train system. Privatization does not work. It is also a source of graft and other misdeeds. We would rather government run the maintenance of MRT and address the various issues faced wp commuters,” Reyes said.
Commuters are also pushing for a “Train Summit” involving commuters and stakeholders to address issues with the train system. “It is time for government to present their long-term plans if any, and for commuter groups to raise their alternatives to the regime of privatization. We cannot go on like this, always gripped wp uncertainty whether or not commuters will reach their destination once they board a train,” Reyes added. ##