The chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Services is expecting the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to fulfill its target to complete the rehabilitation of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) by July 2021.
Senator Grace Poe got the assurance of its completion during the interpellation of the PHP147-billion proposed 2020 budget of the DOTr on Wednesday.
“Yes, complete rehab, almost like brand new,” said Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, sponsor of the DOTr budget.
Poe said the budget allocated as a subsidy to the mass transit system’s operations and maintenance has been gradually increasing from PHP3.4 billion in 2016; PHP4.6 billion in 2018; PHP4.7 billion this year, to PHP6 billion in 2020.
Poe also questioned the cost of the MRT rehabilitation project this year, which jumped to PHP5 billion from PHP1 billion last year.
Gatchalian, in response, said the bugged operations of MRT affected the number of ridership, and with targets not met, the government has to compensate through the increase in subsidies.
“That’s the problem and the reason we are not meeting those targets is because also of the maintenance issue which is hopefully going to be addressed,” Poe said.
The DOTr has signed a consent agreement with Sumitomo Corporation to operate the Dalian trains and for the maintenance of MRT-3.
Poe said the government should be very prudent about the agreement to make sure that it is cost-effective. (PNA)