Delon Porcalla | Philstar Global | June 2, 2017

Filipino taxpayers are paying the Korea-based maintenance service provider of the Metro Rail Transit 3 some P73,333 daily to clean the coaches, an administration lawmaker revealed yesterday.

Rep. Jericho Jonas Nograles of the party-list Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta said the P80-million contract awarded to the Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI) for over three years also included an allocation for the water supply it needs to wash all the train's Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs).

This means the government is paying P26.6 million on a yearly basis or P2.2 million a month or more than P73,000 daily.

Compared to the previous provider, however, Sumitomo Corp. of Japan only charged the MRT-3 P350,000 per month (or P11,666 daily) or a total of P12.6 million for three years, as per records of the Department of Transportation's Bids and Awards Committee.

"Secretary Arthur Tugade should terminate this very anomalous contract. The government should stop all payments for BURI due to non-compliance of the terms of their contract," Nograles proposed.

"The Duterte government should not be carrying this burden of getting the flak for the malfeasance and misfeasance of the past administration," said Nograles who is a nephew of Duterte and also a native of Davao City.

The P80 million allocation for LRV maintenance forms part of BURI's P3.8-billion contract.

He also noted the absence of a detailed breakdown on the water requirement for cleaning LRVs, where BURI only stated that, "any savings generated from this will be re-allocated as a contingency fund which shall be utilized to fund other requirements for the contract."

"BURI did not even spend time making a detailed explanation on the derogatory observations made by the panel. They simply cut and paste a packaged response that all savings derived from their excessive fees will be re-allocated to the contingency fund," Nograles observed.

"Now the big question is: where is the contingency fund and who is administering it?" he asked as he urged the Commission on Audit to look into the contingency fund being cited by BURI.

This provision for the supposed re-allocation of all savings to the contingency fund has been the standard response to the members of the Bids and Awards Committee of the previous Department of Transportation and Communications that have cited the excessive maintenance cost being charged by BURI.