GMA News | October 17, 2012
Metro Pacific Investment Corporation (“MPIC”) fully supports the government’s infrastructure program, specifically the MRT 3 capacity expansion project. Both the private and public sectors should be partners in rebuilding the Philippines’ infrastructure through the injection of investments that would infuse momentum into our improving economy.
We laud the efforts of President Benigno S. Aquino III to encourage investors to invest in key transportation infrastructure that the country direly needs. We assure the government and the public that MPIC will support ways to improve the quality of MRT 3 service to over 600,000 Metro Manila commuters who use it daily.
We are publishing this letter in its entirety to dispel talks that have recently surfaced in several media, that MPIC is opposing efforts of the Department of Transportation and Communication (“DOTC”) to find a new maintenance provider for the MRT 3. This is untrue. Through this open letter, MPIC hopefully puts to rest doubts about the Group’s 100% commitment to the government’s infrastructure-building initiatives.
An open letter
Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (“MPIC”) (PSE:MPI) has a solid track record and experience in developing large-scale infrastructure projects and providing efficient service to the public.
MPIC through this public statement wishes to correct the wrong assertions made in a recent article of Mr. Neal H. Cruz on October 15, 2012 in his column “As I See It” that the MPIC-designated directors in Metro Rail Transit Corporation (“MRTC”) led by Marilyn Aquino and Jose Ma. Lim vigorously objected to the hiring of an interim maintenance provider for MRT 3 and pushed for a one-year extension of the maintenance agreement with Sumitomo Corp. (“Sumitomo”).
The maintenance of MRT3 was taken up by the MRTC Board last October 3, 2012 in a meeting where Mr. A. S. Vitangcol, the General Manager of MRT 3, represented the Department of Transportation and Communications (“DOTC”). At the start of the meeting, in the presence of Mr. Vitangcol, Mr. Lim stated that MPIC has no interest in MRTC retaining the services of Sumitomo for the maintenance of MRT 3 or in the extension of the Sumitomo contract.
In that meeting, Sumitomo presented the following three major issues about MRT 3, which MRTC believes require urgent attention by the DOTC:
Spare parts shortage for the Signaling System – there is a shortage of essential parts for the MAN900 Signaling System, which might result in serious operational accidents and which could involve personal injuries or fatalities.
Passenger overloading – daily passengers have been increasing to the level exceeding the design capacity of 540,000 per day, which may create unexpected and repeated breakdowns and serious failures in rolling stock structure, especially in DC traction motors and its related parts and equipment.
Spare parts shortage of the Automated Fare Collection System (“AFC”) – there are no spare parts available for the AFC.
Also in that meeting, Mr. Vitangcol advised the MRTC Board that DOTC will no longer agree to the extension of the Sumitomo maintenance contact beyond October 19, 2012 and requested MRTC to appoint an interim new maintenance provider within a period of two weeks.
The MRTC Board did not oppose the decision of DOTC not to extend the Sumitomo contract but, by a unanimous vote, declined the request of DOTC that MRTC handle the solicitation of the new interim maintenance provider.
The responsibility for procuring a new maintenance provider was transferred to DOTC on November 24, 2010, and while MRTC has been requesting the return of such procurement function, as a matter of good corporate governance there is simply not enough time to allow MRTC to conduct a proper solicitation for a new interim maintenance provider within the two-week period offered by DOTC.
MRTC is not abdicating its responsibility to maintain MRT3 but the DOTC left MRTC with no choice but to have DOTC take responsibility for the interim period. MRTC has advised DOTC that it is willing to resume the responsibility of maintaining the MRT 3 after the expiration of the DOTC’s interim maintenance contract provided MRTC is given sufficient time to undertake a proper selection process.
For the safety of the riding public and to ensure the reliability and integrity of MRT 3, the MRTC Board, by a unanimous vote, agreed to extend all cooperation and assistance to the DOTC in appointing a new interim maintenance provider for MRT 3, so that all the critical issues raised by Sumitomo in respect of the maintenance of the MRT 3 may be addressed immediately. — MPIC