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Court hears petition for injunction on MRT trains.

Manila, Philippines - The Makati City court on Thursday heard the petition for injunction by the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC) which told the court that the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is still pursuing its plan to acquire 48 secondhand trains from a Chinese company despite the approval by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) of the MRTC proposal for the acquisition of brand-new trains for MRT.

Robert John Sobrepena, MRTC chairman from 2007 to 2098, told the court that MRTC submitted to DOTC three proposals - in 2000, 2004, and 2008 -- to supply brand-new light rail vehicles (LTVs).

Sobrepena stressed that MRTC is still open for negotiations with the government for the purchase of brand-new LRVs for the MRT3 system. It has not waived its right of first refusal for the procurement of brand-new LRVs for MRT Line 3, he said.

The MRTC proposal was approved in 2000 by the NEDA, Sobrepena said. The government's response then was that it wanted a "triggering event" for the capacity expansion to push through. The "triggering event" was for the MRT to reach 350,000 riding capacity per day. This figure was reached and reported by the DOTC in 2003. "But it (the proposal) was put on hold," he said.

Before Judge Joselito Villarosa, Sobrepena said the MRTC proposed anew in 2004. "We renewed the offer and to also improve the system to allow for new trains to come in." Sobrepena said the DOTC agreed and even formed a technical working team to study the MRTC's offer.

Then the idea of purchasing second-hand trains was floated. "The idea did not come from us but from the DOTC. I was not in favor. What we want were brand-new trains," he said.

The DOTC, on the other hand, presented MRT General Manager Al Vitangol III as one of its witnesses. Vitangol pointed the urgent need for the procurement of the trains. "The procurement of the trains will alleviate the passenger overloading of the MRT," he said.


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Title Annotation:Metro
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Feb 14, 2014
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