THE Senate sub-committee on public services will resume its hearings on problems plaguing Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 today, Monday, after being canceled several times because of unavailability of transportation officials.
Senator Grace Poe, chairman of the sub-committee, has invited MRT 3, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), Metro Pacific Investment Corp. and Center for Commuters to the hearing.
Among those on the calendar are frequent accidents on the tracks and increasing incidents of train malfunctions as well as the maintenance operation of train systems.
“The MRT 3 problems are very upsetting, that is why I want to focus on the issue. What train and transportation officials can’t understand is that we have arrived at this situation because of their incompetence,” Poe said.
The last Senate hearing on the MRT 3 issue was in February but in September, Poe inspected the prototype trains delivered from Dalian, China.
An independent presidential candidate and the front runner in presidential preference surveys, she said she is confident that Filipinos know who are responsible for the woes of MRT commuters.
Her sub-committee was supposed to conduct a hearing last week but Poe decided to reschedule it after she was informed by DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, through a letter, that he was not available.
“Thank you for your invitation dated 27 October 2015 for a public hearing to discuss MRT -related issues. Unfortunately, I cannot personally attend the hearing on 04 November 2015 because I will be attending the 21st Asean Transport Ministers Meeting to be held in Malaysia,” Abaya stated in his letter.
But contrary to the claims he made in his letter, the DOTC chief was still in the country on November 4, and even held a news conference in connection with “tanim-bala” (bullet planting) scandal at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
“We were not even informed that he [Abaya] is still here [in the country],” Poe said in a text message sent to The Manila Times, adding that the secretary could have issued a statement during the hearing and proceed with his appointment later.