June 28, 2016 | ABS-CBN News | Trishia Billones

Sumitomo Corporation may be tapped again to maintain the Metro Rail Transit Line-3 (MRT-3), as incoming Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade revealed he has conducted initial talks with the Japanese company.

Tugade said it would be impractical for the government to tap a different maintenance provider for the trains when the original maintenance provider knows the trains better.

"In the initial conversations we have had with them, there seem to be the receptiveness in going back, given certain working parameters which I feel at that time, at the initial conversation, are reasonable," he told ANC's Headstart on Tuesday.

The government's contract with Sumitomo expired in 2012.

The Korean-Filipino joint venture among Busan Transportation Corporation, Edison Development & Construction, Tramat Mercantile, Inc., TMICorp Inc., and Castan Corporation has recently signed a three-year maintenance contract for the MRT-3 and is currently maintaining railway operations.

Apart from the maintenance provider issue, Tugade is also hoping to solve the long queues in the MRT by putting up satellite kiosks in malls to be able to buy or reload ticket cards.

"Iniisip ko ho na baka dapat yung ticket hindi na lang doon bilhin lahat e. Baka pwedeng mag-open ka ng mga nasa mall, na kukuha na sila so maiibsan mo yung dami ng bibili ticket," he said.

Within his first 100 days in office, Tugade will also see to it that the escalators are working and the comfort rooms will be clean.


Meanwhile, Tugade insisted the emergency power sought for Duterte to solve Metro Manila's traffic woes will not be "capricious, whimsical, confiscatory, arbitrary," as the congress will grant them an oversight committee and claimants of aggravation may plead to the courts.

"Yung salita kasing 'emergency', it turns off people. Baka dapat ang natutugma diyan is 'special powers during critical times'," he said.

These powers are needed because the problem of metro traffic has been carried by many administrations before, but their solutions were blocked by restraining orders, injunctions, or right of way issues, Tugade said.

"Pag nagpa-bidding ka, ang matatalo, magke-kwestiyon sa husgado, masasakripsyo yung proyekto, made-delay. Pag nangailangan ka ng ibang lupa, akala mo ba, pagbibigyan ka ng nakakariwara sa buhay?," he added.

If granted these powers, Tugade said they will open special roads through private subdivisions, even though they may invoke their private property rights.

"Igagalang pa rin po yun, pero kailangan, papakiusapan po namin yung mga subdivision na kung maaari, ipahiram at ipagamit yung kalsada," he said.

He added, these special roads will not be open 24 hours a day, but shall only be used during "peak moments and peak hours." The government will also fortify these subdivisions' security.

"Kailangan rin hong tulungan yung mga may-ari ng mga subdibisyon dun sa security concerns nila. Hindi ho sasabihin namin na ‘pahiram; bahala na kayo sa seguridad.’ Dapat ho tulungan namin sila dun," he said.

They are also looking into possibly increasing fees from owners with three or more cars.

"Yung car sales, hindi ko naman pwedeng sabihing, 'pwede ba, bawasan mo yung pagbili mo?' Pwede hong silipin na kung meron ka nang tatlo o apat na auto na nadidiyan, ay pwede mong lagyan ng mas mataaas na fees. Pag-aaralan ho yan," he said.

Meanwhile, Tugade will remove all that 'unreasonably obstruct the traffic flow,' including basketball courts and parked vehicles along public roads.

"Kalsada nga yan, kalye yan, bakit mo gagawing parking yan? After we have issued the memorandum order, nasa street [yung sasakyan], ito-tow ko yan," he said, adding homeowners must take full responsibilities for smaller roads with lesser traffic.

The number coding scheme will also be reviewed under pay for essays Tugade's watch.

"That is being evaluated. Perhaps it will be modified at certain extent. The idea is we are willing to adopt such system as may be necessary in order to have a freer flow of vehicles," he said.