BAYAN sues Abaya, staff over questionable MRT deal

Bayan MRT 2017 nov 20

MANILA, Philippines — Left-leaning groups filed graft and government procurement violation complaints against former Transportation chief Joseph Emilio Abaya and other officials over the allegedly anomalous P3.8 billion maintenance contract for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr, Bayan Muna Chairperson Neri Colmenares, AGHAM Secretary General Maria Finesa Cosico and Train Riders Network members Angelo Suarez, Maria Donna Miranda and James Relativo filed raps before the Office of the Ombudsman Monday.

Reyes described the recently-terminated maintenance deal with Busan Universal Rail Inc. as “grossly disadvantageous to the public.”

“The contract was awarded to a joint venture that is financially and technically unqualified to provide the necessary maintenance,” Reyes said.

Aside from Abaya, those who were named as respondents included former Transport undersecretaries Rene Limcaoco, Catherine Gonzales, Edwin Lopez and MRT-3 general manager Roman Buenafe.

Likewise charged were:

  • Ofelia Astrera, Bids and Awards Committee vice chairman
  • Charissa Eloisa Julia Opulencia, BAC provisional member
  • Oscar Bongon, BAC provisional member
  • Jose Rodante Sabayle, BAC provisional member
  • Maria Cecila Natividad, BAC member

Officers of former MRT maintenance provider BURI were also included in the complaint:

  • Eldonn Uy
  • Elizabeth Velasco
  • Belinda Ong Tan
  • Brian Velasc
  • Chae Gue Shim

The filing of complaints came days after the decoupling of a coach from a train and the accident that severed a passenger’s arm at the Ayala Station in Makati City. Technical glitches also hound the MRT-3, which ferries half a million commuters daily.

Last month, the Department of Transportation also filed graft charges against Abaya along with 10 former Transport officials and 10 incorporators of BURI.

Privatization

Reyes slammed the privatization of the train maintenance, calling it as “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,” he said.

The Bayan secretary general noted that the filing of complaints against former Transport officials must also serve as a warning to current Department of Transportation.

“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 by commuters,” Reyes said.

He added: “We cannot go on like this, always gripped by uncertainty whether or not commuters will reach their destination once they board a train.”

DoTr took over the service and maintenance of MRT after terminating the contract of BURI for its poor performance. The three-year contract is supposed to end in January 2019.

By Gaea Katreena Cabico (philstar.com)  November 20, 2017

#Duterte #ChangeIsComing

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