Hannah Torregoza | Manila Bulletin | November 5, 2017

Senator Grace Poe today issued another stern warning against the management of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT)-3 saying it should undertake more arduous technical evaluation of all its remaining coaches to avoid life-threatening situations.

Poe made the call after a fire broke out from a coach of an MRT train early morning, on the northbound tracks between Cubao and Kamuning stations.

Thick smoke reportedly billowed out of one of the coaches that caught fire near Nepa-Q Mart area at about 10:20 a.m.

Train operations from Cubao were temporarily halted; operations were restored at around 11 a.m.

"I urge the MRT management to immediately take a more rigorous technical evaluation of all the remaining coaches to make sure that life-threatening glitches do not occur at the very least knowing the line's current status of being prone to breakdowns," Poe said in a statement.

She said the decision to suspend whole operations of the MRT lies with the management whose technical staff she believes are in a better position to assess the extent of the dangers.

"Several weeks have passed since the MRT management assured us during budget deliberations that the line was still safe to operate but in recent days such assurance seems dubious now," the senator pointed out.

Poe reminded the MRT management it has to beef up its technical and security operations more than ever, now that the holiday season is near and more commuters are expected to ride the MRT.

"While I agree that prevention despite possible inconvenience is better than having a disaster, on the other hand, traffic is already as bad as it is, and it will get worse when the Christmas season kicks in," she said.

"Thus, we can expect more stranded commuters without the MRT," she stressed.

Nonetheless she said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has the technical expertise to assess the safety of the trains.

"If they do not act on this or continue to turn a blind eye, then the blame ultimately rests on their shoulders," Poe said.