Group blasts DOTC for ‘anomalous’ deal

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A consumer group lambasted officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) for continuing to support a maintenance deal that may endanger the lives of rail commuters.

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“The DOTC’s continued lack of concern for commuters’ borders on criminal. We shudder at how thick-faced DOTC and LRTA officials are at their continued support for a clearly anomalous deal that will compromise the safety of millions of Metro commuters. Do people need to be injured again before we see any positive government action?” Oliver San Antonio, spokesman of the National Coalition of Filipino Consumers (NCFC) said.

The group said Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and Light Rail Transit Authority officials Honorito Chaneco and Jose Jobel Belarmino appeared bent on awarding the maintenance contract for the Santolan to Recto LRT Line 2 to a bidder found by the DOTC’s own engineers to have merely copied the MRT specifications and applied it to the LRT contract.

A Technical Working Group (TWG) report submitted on May 25, 2015 noted 12 “non-responsive” bid offers of service provider BUSAN-EDC for LRT 2. These related to lax maintenance schedules as well as incompatible signaling and running systems.

Despite the findings, the LRTA Bids and Awards Committee (LRTA-BAC) praised the joint venture’s proposal as “advantageous to the government.”

The NCFC files graft and administrative cases at the Office of the Ombudsman against Belarmino and nine other members of the LRTA-BAC in July for repeatedly violating published bid rules and illegally favoring the Fil-Korean joint venture.

The Ombudsman has directed the BAC members to answer the complaint.

“We need swift and concrete government action. The DOTC Secretary and the President need to directly intervene to clean this bidding mess up, and they should do it now without any further delay,” San Antonio said.

“Tourists are falling off holes inside our international airport, Metro Manila traffic takes forever to move. This is the sad state of transport in the country. Our metro rail system is a good transport alternative. The commuting public should be vigilant in protecting it against more corruption and inefficiency,” the NCFC counsel admonished.

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