GMA News | November 6, 2017

Busan Universal Rail Inc., the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) maintenance provider, said on Monday it will seek arbitration after the government terminated its contract.

In a press conference in Quezon City, BURI said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) can only terminate the maintenance contract after going through arbitration proceedings.

"Following Supreme Court jurisprudence cited by BURI, the DOTr cannot unilaterally terminate the contract without prior resort to arbitration," the company said in a statement.

"The DOTr cannot also be allowed to issue a Notice of Termination that circumvents a trial court order directing DOTr and BURI to undergo arbitration," it added.

BURI external counsel Maricris Pahate said they suggested that the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center (PDRC) tofacilitate the arbitration.

"We've suggested the PDRC 'cause it has its own arbitrators, it has its own secretariat. So we've already sent our notice of arbitration forms, to do the arbitration forms, before the PDRC," she said.

BURI said last month it intends to disprove through arbitration the claims of the DOTr. But on Monday it said that it seems as though the government has no plan to undergo the process.

"Even before nila kami pasagutin [sa claims nila], may decision na sila to terminate ... Akala namin magkakaroon kami ng arbitration," Pahate said.

The DOTr on Monday served a final decision to end the contract of BURI as the maintenance provider of the MRT-3.

The DOTr cited four reasons for deciding to terminate its contract with BURI, mainly due to supposed "poor performance" of the company.

BURI said, however, it did its part in maintaining the rail system, and that the glitches on the train were due to faulty rail lines and were outside their control.

"Sinabi na namin sa kanila 'yang mga sira na 'yan. Mangyayari lahat 'yan unless palitan ninyo 'yung riles kasi 'yung pagpalit ng riles separate contract 'yan. Hindi sa amin 'yan," Pahate said.

For now, BURI has filed for a protection order before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court to stop the DOTr from implementing the contract termination.

"The protection order is like a TRO (temporary restraining order)," Pahate noted.