Govt-private sector mix not doing MRT-3 any good

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The poor performance of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) is a result of having a government operator and a private sector maintenance contractor, according to a former Public Works who now heads the Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC).

“The difficulty with government is they are governed by very strict procurement laws. In the case of the private, when I need a spare part, I will just buy it,” LRMC President and Chief Executive Officer Rogelio Singson said in an interview on national television on Monday.

LRMC is a joint venture among Metro Pacific Investments Corporation’s (MPIC) Metro Pacific Light Rail Corporation (MPLRC), Ayala Corporation’s AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation (AC Infra), and the Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure’s Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) PTE Ltd. (MIHPL).

It owns and maintains the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) which runs from Baclaran in Pasay City to Roosevelt in Quezon City.


“LRT-2 is purely government. LRT-1 is purely private—we operate, we maintain. MRT-3 is mixed. Government operates, private maintains,” Singson said.

“To me, that is a main problem,” Singson said, noting that a blaming game strained the professional relationship between the government and MRT-3 maintenance provider Busan Universal Rail Inc.

In the private sector there are no strict bidding rules in case a technical problem befalls the MRT-3 and new equipment must be purchase. But the government must adhere to the laws governing the bidding process, which can cause delays, Singson noted.

“There are so many complex components. If one is left behind, that train will not work,” he said.
Earlier, the Pangilinan-led MPIC said it was keeping its fingers crossed in taking over the MRT-3.

“If we can make our Light Rail Transit-1 profitable, we are certain we can make our MRT-3 just as efficient,” said MPIC President Jose Lim.

Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez also said earlier that the Department of Transportation was considering having the Light Rail Transit Authority manage the MRT-3 and privatize the mass rail transit system.

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