VJ Bacungan  | CNN Philippines | September 19, 2017

The maintenance provider of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT)-3 attributes the periodic malfunctioning in the train system to "design flaws," as it called on the Department of Transportation (DoTr) to start the rail replacement "as soon as possible to help minimize or eliminate these glitches."

Busan Universal Railways, Inc. (BURI) said in a statement that they sent a letter to MRT-3 General Manager Rodolfo Garcia recommending a probe "to confirm that the MRT-3 design flaws are the primary reason for the recurring service interruptions of the system."

Sought for comment, DoTr Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez disputed BURI's claim.

He referred to his supplemental position paper submitted early this September to DoTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, the agency's legal department, and MRT-3 General Manager Rodolfo J. Garcia — and which attributed the so-called glitch in the train system to Automatic Train Protection (ATP) Brake failure (165 incidents), ATP Failure (130 incidents), and start-up interlocking (129 incidents).

Mr. Chavez told reporters in a message on Saturday, Sept. 16, that there were six unloading incidents on Friday. Before that, on Wednesday, two passengers of the MRT-3 sustained minor injuries due to ATP braking at Shaw Boulevard Station.

The position paper also noted that spare parts procured by BURI were insufficient and that "urgent maintenance is required" in much of the equipment. These findings in a recent audit requested by Mr. Garcia were conducted by Bombardier Transportation Signal (Thailand) Ltd., the firm which provided the signaling system for the MRT-3 system.

With regards to rail replacement, Mr. Chavez said this is already in the pipeline.

BURI noted in its statement that DoTr had already conducted the bidding, but that "its actual implementation has been delayed for almost a year now."

"That’s in the program. (Today) is the submission of bids for the rail replacement to the BAC (Bids and Awards Committee) of Procurement Service of the DBM (Department of Budget and Management)," Mr. Chavez, for his part, said in a text message.