By Gil Cabacungan | Philippine Daily Inquirer | December 27, 2015

A LAWMAKER is seeking a suspension of P3.81-billion long-term maintenance contract for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) awarded by the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to a Korean-Filipino group without bidding.

Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon, a member of the House committee on transportation, said Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya should first explain to Congress why it entered into an anomalous contract with another dubious company just after its disastrous deal with PH Trams from October 2012 to September 2013.
“There is clear basis to seek an inquiry. The contract was awarded to a consortium with insignificant capitalization and local partners which have no experience in rail maintenance,” said Ridon in a text message.

“It would be best to suspend the issuance of the notice to proceed pending resolution of all questions,” added Ridon.
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares questioned the motives of the DOTC in laying the grounds for a negotiated contract. “The DOTC is saying that there is an emergency to fix the problems but they are not saying that they are the ones who caused it,” said Colmenares.

“This questionable deal should be probed and I hope that the DOTC is not trying to pull another fast one on MRT commuters. We have to check the deal and ensure that there is no hidden fare hike,” said Colmenares.

Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III said he agreed that Congress should look into the contract, which he felt was “such a stupid thing to do” in the face of the public uproar over the poor maintenance of the MRT.

“They must have a good reason or else ‘daang matuwid’ (righteous path) will be a sham. I’m sure they know the consequences of their actions,” said Albano.
Ridon said Abaya and the DOTC management should answer allegations that the terms of reference in the maintenance contract “were designed for bid failures to necessitate negotiated procurement.”

“The terms were further changed in the middle of the process to seemingly favor the winning consortium,” said Ridon.

Ridon noted that the allegations against the Filipino-Korean’s “negotiated” contract were similar to the charges against PH Trams.

The DOTC announced on Christmas Eve that the joint venture of Busan Transportation Corp., Edison Development & Construction, Tramat Mercantile Inc., TMI Corp. Inc. and Castan Corp. would start its three-year contract staring Jan. 5, 2016.

The DOTC justified entering into a negotiated deal for the MRT maintenance after holding two failed auctions—September 2014 and January 2015.