MANILA - The House Committee on Metro Manila Development is asking the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to present the people behind the new maintenance service providers of the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3).

The maintenance of the MRT was temporarily divided into seven components with only six months contract each while the agency's request for a negotiated or emergency bidding is pending before the Government Procurement Policy Board.

Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said the presentation of the contractors seeks to make sure that there are no anomalies in the contracts awarded by the DOTC.

In Wednesday's hearing, the rehabilitation of the ageing MRT system was discussed. The rehabilitation is expected to improve both the capacity of the mass transit system and the overall experience of commuters.

The DOTC has procured 48 new train cars from China. According to Transportation Secretary Jose Lotilla, these trains should have been purchased by the private owner, MRT Corp. (MRTC), under the Build Lease Transfer contract. The delivery of the trains will be completed by December 2016.

The new train cars are expected to increase the average 15 train sets currently running during peak hours. The prototype of the train is set to arrive by August 10 at the Port of Manila from China.

The rehabilitation of MRT station facilities including escalators, elevators, and toilets are ongoing.

The DOTC has also procured over 7,000 new rail tracks, which will replace the worn-out rails over the coming months.

The agency is also set to award the contract to upgrade MRT's signaling system. Other improvement projects such as new radio communication devices and rail grinding machines are also being procured.



Meanwhile, the discussion on the looming Light Rail Transit-Line 1 (LRT-1) fare hike brought about by the incoming private concessionaire, which will be taking over LRT-1 operations and maintenance, resulted into a heated debate between the lawmakers.

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares questioned Lotilla on why the contract with Light Rail Manila Consortium (LRMC) includes a guarantee that there will be a 10 percent increase on fares every two years.

He also asked Lotilla if it will override a court order against a fare hike.

Lotilla said the government will still have the last say on any fare adjustment and it will not happen anytime soon.

On Tuesday, LRMC said the fare adjustment is not their priority.