“The ‘MRT Challenge’ should not be about asking our public officials to take the [Metro Rail Transit 3]. It should be about asking our leaders to address the root causes of why the MRT 3 is inefficient and unsafe. We dare our public officials to formulate and implement real, long-term and lasting solutions to the MRT mess. Immediately!”
This was the demand made by lawyer Oliver San Antonio, counsel for the National Coalition of Filipino Consumers (NCFC), who on Sunday called on government officials, especially the leadership of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), to seriously look into solutions addressing the current MRT 3 mess.
“We appreciate the efforts of public officials who take the MRT 3 to see [its]problems first-hand and up close,” San Antonio said.
But “the everyday trials experienced by commuters are just symptomatic of the more serious problems plaguing the MRT 3,” he added.
“To really understand why the MRT 3 has become increasingly unreliable and dangerous, we challenge our leaders to dig deeper into the issue and find out how we can make the MRT safe and comfortable to the half-million people who take the real ‘MRT Challenge’ everyday,” San Antonio said.
The lawyer apparently took off from the “Ice Bucket Challenge” that has gained popularity among movie stars and politicians worldwide and where they are drenched with ice-cold water, all in their support for raising funds to help find a cure for Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
A former chairman of the University of the Philippines Student Council, he added that the recent Senate inquiry into the problems of the MRT 3 was “a step in the right direction and an opportunity for the riding public to find out why [it]has become such a nightmare.”
“We hope the Senate continues the hearings until we discover the full extent of the MRT 3 problem. The riding public needs a concrete idea of what the government plans to do to address their everyday travails in the MRT 3,” San Antonio said.
“And we don’t need those band aid solutions like installing tarps to shield commuters from the heat or rain. These are shallow and insulting. We do not want the MRT 3 issue to become another flavor-of-the-month news item that people will lose interest in a few months down the road,” he added.
“For all we know, the [derailment]of the MRT 3 and the other problems reported in social media are just the tip of the iceberg. The public deserve to know the full details about MRT 3 operations and maintenance. It’s their safety that’s at stake here,” according to San Antonio.
Last month, 38 people were injured when an MRT 3 coach overshot the tracks at the MRT Taft Avenue station in Pasay City.
Last week, netizens reported that another MRT 3 coach continued to run despite an open passenger door.