SENATORS Grace Poe and Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday urged transport officials to ensure that the new maintenance deal for the rehabilitation of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) would be aboveboard and advantageous to the government.
The Department of Transportation (DoTr) announced on Wednesday that it was set to enter into a three-year contract with Sumitomo Corp. to rehabilitate the MRT.
Sumitomo has a respectable reputation in the industry, Gatchalian noted. “However, DoTr should still exercise prudence in setting the terms of the agreement.”
“Let us bear in mind, however, that Sumitomo may not be the only maintenance provider or even the best one,” said Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services.
She added, “Thus, the government must ensure that the terms of the contract for whichever provider is hired, are not disadvantageous to the people and should be FOI (Freedom of Information)-compliant.”
“Given the good track record of Sumitomo when it maintained the MRT for the first 12 years before the system went through a ‘teleserye’ (television series) of unfortunate events, the prospect of having a reputable maintenance provider back is encouraging and a step in the right direction,” Poe said.
Gatchalian said the privatization of the MRT remains to be to most viable long-term option to improve the quality of its service.
“A short-term contract with Sumitomo would be best, so that potential private buyers will be able to have a free hand regarding future maintenance operations,” he said.
“I welcome the possible return of Sumitomo Corp. to its previous role as the maintenance service provider of the MRT3. As the original maintenance provider of MRT-3, they must surely be equipped with necessary expertise to help fix the recurring ailments of the rail system,” he said.