Jess Diaz | The Philippine Star | October 5, 2017

The termination of the P3.8-billion maintenance contract for the breakdown-prone Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3), the rail line along Edsa, is now awaiting the approval of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.

Transportation Undersecretary for Rails Cesar Chavez told the House committee on good government yesterday that the department has submitted to Tugade its recommendation to terminate the deal with Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI) because of the frequent breakdowns of MRT-3.

"I have had sleepless nights over the daily glitches in the system, praying and hoping that no serious accident happens," he said in a hearing on the issue.

Aside from the breakdowns, Chavez said the maintenance service provider has failed to comply with some of the terms of its contract.

"They were to overhaul and rehabilitate 43 old trains, but so far they were done with only two," he said.

Upon Chavez's suggestion, the DOTr has withheld a huge sum of payments due BURI.

The maintainer has filed charges against Chavez. Lawmakers said the case aims to force DOTr to pay BURI more than P180 million in billings.

Rep. Jericho Nograles of party-list Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta, who has been exposing alleged irregularities in the maintenance contract and service, welcomed Chavez's recommendation to terminate the deal.

"The termination is long overdue. The DOTr has to find a better maintenance service provider," he said.

He said the daily breakdowns of the Edsa rail line show that a serious accident could happen.

A resolution filed by Nograles prompted the good government committee inquiry. Nograles claimed BURI installed fake safety parts on some trains.

BURI's Charles Mercado belied the claim, saying the parts were delivered but later withdrawn.

But Chavez said the parts were delivered and were in fact installed on two trains.

Deputy Majority Leader and Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. sought all documents relating to the award by the Aquino administration of the maintenance contract to BURI.