By Ellson Quismorio | Manila Bulletin | August 18, 2014
A militant lawmaker wants to grill Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Sec. Joseph Emilio Abaya before Congress, this time over the still smoldering issue of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 mishap last Aug. 13 where close to 40 people were injured.
Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon yesterday filed House Resolution No. 1387, which calls on the House Committee on Metro Manila Development to conduct an investigation on the accident.
The measure specifically prods the House panel to carry out a probe, “in aid of legislation, of the MRT 3 mishap that injured dozens of passengers and other accidents and service disruptions that make MRT 3 perilous and inefficient and likewise investigate maintenance procedures and services provided by the MRTC and its maintenance contractors for possible criminal liabilities and gross neglect of duty.”
Among those who could be charged criminally, according to Ridon, are officials from the DOTC, the MRT Corporation (MRTC) and private maintenance contractors.
The MRTC oversees the maintenance of the so-called blue line while the DOTC oversees its operations.
Ridon said the decrepit state of the MRT3 should be addressed once and for all, and officials involved in its operations held accountable for the poor maintenance of the train system that has led to multiple incidents.
The Aug. 13 accident—the worst in the train system’s history—saw a full MRT coach slam into the barrier of EDSA-Taft station.
“The incident exposed the perennial threat that the beat-up state of the MRT 3 poses to half a million Filipinos who ride it every day,” Ridon said in HR 1387. According to the Train Riders Network (TREN), the MRT currently services 620,000 passengers daily, nearly double its maximum capacity of 350,000 riders.
Ridon likewise noted that billions of pesos of public funds are being spent annually to subsidize the MRT 3, yet the public still suffers from poor and perilous train service.