By Maricel Cruz, Joel E. Zurbano | Manila Standard Today | July 08, 2015
THE Aquino administration’s train coach deal with Chinese state company threatens the sustainability of the country’s transport system and makes it vulnerable to Chinese bullying, member of the Makabayan Bloc in the House of Representatives said on Tuesday.
Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap warned that the contract to supply new trains for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 was forged with the Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of CNR Group which is a state-owned corporation of China.
“It is also a form of surrender and treason as it also underscores the country’s dependency on Chinese technology,” Hicap said.
“When the debate against China for our territorial claim intensifies, it is east for China to cut off support services for the MRT, and with that the Filipino people are to suffer,” Hicap said, adding the Aquino administration has practically surrendered the country’s strategic transport sector to China.
“The Aquino government does not take Chinese transgressions seriously as shown by the MRT contract awarded to a Chinese state-owned corporation amounting to P3.75 billion of taxpayers’ money,” Hicap said.
Hicap also demanded that public-private partnership (PPP) contracts for the MRT be immediately scrapped and for the transport system to be nationalized in order to break free from dependency on foreign investment and technology.
Hicap said the contract would make the Filipino people pay for Chinese industrial products that would in effect boost Chinese state funds, the same funds from which expenditures to prop up Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea are sourced.
“While the Filipino people are all enraged, Aquino’s Public-Private Partnership program is being promoted effectively coercing the public to pay while allowing China to rakes in income,” Hicap said.
“Chinese consulate officials are disrespectful, we Filipinos are being insulted, they did not even had the courtesy to receive the protest letter from the Filipino fisherfolk,” Hicap said.
The DOTC awarded the contract to supply 48 new light rail coaches to Dalian in 2013 after officials claimed it was the only bidder that satisfied the project’s eligibility requirements for the P3.7-billion MRT 3 capacity expansion. It proposed to undertake the project at P3.759 billion.
The agency expects the delivery of the new trains in January 2016.
Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said a prototype is on-schedule for delivery in mid-August while the dynamic testing phase will start in November.
Abaya claimed their project implementation team reported that the prototype appears to be of good and reliable quality with better traction motors to incorporate alternating current technology.
“What is important to us is that the train cars, once delivered, will be safe and reliable. So we prefer to be thorough with the manufacture, assembly, checking and testing of the prototype,” Abaya said.