By Carlo Suerte Felipe | Manila Bulletin | August 17, 2014

A train commuters group, shocked by the recent derailment of a Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 coach, has called for the resignation of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.

In the official statement of the Train Riders Network (TREN), the MRT 3 derailment demonstrated gross negligence on the part of the DOTC secretary whose task is to ensure that “the MRT and the public mass transport system are reliable and safe.”

“He is always busy for the 2016 elections. If Abaya does not have the delicadeza, we call on President Aquino to fire him,” said TREN spokesperson James Relativo.

The group also demanded change in the national government’s effort to mitigate another Aug. 13 incident through “excellent management, regular maintenance and bold plans for expansion and improvement.”

“The MRT’s original design and size do not fit the needs and potential of Metro Manila commuters as of late. Also, we are open to the idea of a full government takeover of the private (mis)management, as provided by the Constitution,” Relativo said.

The group said the change they demand does not include any fare hike.

The group said: “A fare hike would be like rewarding the grossly incompetent, taxpayer money-addicted private management of the MRT.

“More importantly, fares should always be kept at the most affordable levels.”