Alexis Romero | The Philippine Star | November 20, 2017
President Duterte has apologized for the inconvenience caused by the detaching of a Metro Rail Transit (MRT) coach from a train in Makati City last week.
While believing that the incident might have been caused by "sabotage," Duterte said he would not make excuses for it.
"It would indicate sabotage... So maybe the connecting mechanisms there or equipment seems to be – they could not locate it or it's not there when it's supposed to be there," Duterte told reporters in Davao City Saturday night.
"Well, that is one angle that they are trying to (look at)… But this is not an excuse actually. We offer no excuse, but apologies maybe to the public for the inconvenience caused," he added.
Train coaches decoupled from a northbound train in Makati during morning rush hour last Thursday, the latest incident to hound the oft-troubled MRT.
Initial investigation revealed that the "messma card" from the detached train cars was missing, fueling suspicions that the incident was caused by human intervention.
The card is important in identifying the cause of the incident because it records the interventions in all MRT trains.
Transport officials have assured the public that the incident is being probed thoroughly and efforts are underway to ensure the safety of commuters.
Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, an administration lawmaker, yesterday advised the leadership of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to check if there are still MRT personnel loyal to the previous administration.
"There could be more than just a sabotage of MRT operations. I smell intention to embarrass the government. And if this suspicion is true, swift action should be taken against the plot because peoples' lives are at stake," Castelo said.
The investigation "should touch on the possibility of a conspiracy among former DOTr officials, their associates who remain employed in the agency, and maintenance contractor Busan Universal Rail Inc.," he added.
Castelo also filed a House resolution calling for a probe following repeated breakdowns of MRT coaches and the Nov. 14 accident when passenger Angeline Fernando lost her right arm at the Ayala Station in Makati.
The resolution seeks to find out from the MRT management and its former maintenance service provider BURI the true state of the rail system to guide legislators and government on the steps to be taken to assure the safety of commuters.
Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone has renewed his call for the DOTr to consider privatizing the country's railway systems, especially now that it almost cost the life of Fernando.
"DOTr should expedite the privatization of all government-operated mass transit systems. The public cannot afford palliative solutions to the worsening MRT problems," said Evardone, chairman of the House committee on banks and financial intermediaries.