Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Government Buying Out MRT 3: What Benefits the Commuters Get

The MRT is probably the most popular mode of transportation public commuters utilize. More than 500,000 people ride every day and the number may reach 700,000 in the coming years. Augmenting the existing trains with a new fleet of coaches is a very good plan the government to pursue. Upgrading MRT will help diffuse traffic congestion along EDSA and take a big chunk off the riders daily travel woes.

Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Abaya, announced on national television that Aquino government’s plan on buying out the Metro Manila Rail Transit line 3 (MRT3) could happen in the 3rd quarter of this year. The government wants to take over the running of MRT. A bold move by the government that faced dissenting opinions from critics and the 'masang Pinoy'. But why oh why. Let's now take a closer look at the controversies that this planned buyout is into.

They agreed that the MRTC has the right to manage the MRT 3 and they own the responsibility to choose the contractor that could give them equipment supplies if they need it. With this action, the government now has to answer two 2 arbitration cases against the Philippine government filled by MRTC. The question now is, why in the first place the government did not honor the said agreement. By awarding the expansion project to another provider another set of agreements, critics say 'money will change hands.'

If this Metro Manila Rail Transit line 3 (MRT) government buyout pushes through, will the DOTC capable of managing it? On ABS CBN website, a railway expert said their facilities are poorly maintained and the software technologies used to operate the trains by remote control are already obsolete. If so, putting highly qualified IT engineers and personnel is a must concern for the government to settle.

Another issue here is mismanagement on the part of the government. Records don't tell lies, government controlled companies are labeled as LIABILITY.

What benefits will the commuters get if this happens? Does the additional 48 coaches enough to ease if not totally erased the riding public woes?

My thought: We should not be in this bind if only the government reconsider its position and abide by the 1999 BLT agreement and allowed MRTC to do its job of choosing the M&O contractor for this EDSA rail line. The expert in the field should take the lead.


  1. The big question that follows is, does government have the money to buy out the private sector owners of MRTC? I have a feeling that if they knew they could do this, they would have done it already a long time ago.

  2. The Landbank and DBP are helping for this project, and I think, they could manage it too, if they'll hire an experts to do the operations. In addition, the government's positive about the outcome.