The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is looking into returning train coaches purchased by the Aquino administration to Chinese manufacturer Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co. Ltd. The contract with the Chinese manufacturer was PHP3.8 billion for 48 coaches.
“Nakikita ba ninyo na hindi pa rin compatible ‘yung signalling system at ‘yung train at baka ang maging kinahinatnan nito ay lahat ng mga train na ‘yan ibabasura natin, nandoon na ba tayo sa puntong ganoon,” Senator Grace Poe asked Transportation officials during the Senate hearing of Department of Transportation 2018 budget.
“Hindi ho natin mapahihintulutan na mapatakbo ‘yung Dalian trains, 48 light rail vehicles – bagon,” DOTr Undersecretary for Rails Cesar Chavez said. “First, they are not compatible to the maintenance facilities, car hoist, and oil lap machine they are not compatible.”
“Second, what is required in the contract is 46,300 kilograms without passenger, what they delivered is 49,700 and therefor more than 3 tons heavier [per bagon – a train set has 3 bagons],” he said.
“Third, out of 48 bagons, only 29 had been installed by signalling system, of 29 only 4 have been certified to be readily available and can be deployed in revenue operations but the certification given is only for one year with a caveat that if we allow the 4 bagons to be deployed there should be a technician everyday on board,” he added.
“Ganito ho and instructions ni [Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade]. We cannot compromise the safety of our riding public. Therefore, ano ho ginawa ng Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Pakistan? Kumuha ng third party certifier,” he said.
“So what did we do? Number one, we wrote at least 4 internationally known certifier, one is the TÜV based in Germany,” he said.
“I already submitted to [DOTr Undersecretary for Legal Affairs and Procurement Reinier Paul Yebra] a terms of reference providing him all the documents, ‘yung aking request for quotation in the terms of reference. In three months, after the notice to proceed, anong ineexpect? ‘Yung audit niyan sasabihin pwede ba tumakbo o hindi o ibabalik na sa China,” he explained.
“I think whoever is responsible whether it’s the supplier, we should take them to court. Whether it’s the one who made the decision. It’s not a case of vendetta. It’s a case of justice for the public that’s been suffering and now were risking their lives because we’re making do with what we have given the situation but every day is a risk,” Senator Poe said.