MANILA (Mabuhay)—The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) admitted Wednesday that it has no choice but to delay the implementation of the MRT-3 Capacity Expansion project after a Makati court granted the petition to issue a 20-day temporary restraining order (TRO) on the project.
“The expansion project will definitely be delayed. We don’t have a choice but to respect the TRO,” DOTC Assistant Secretary Jaime Caringal said in a hearing of the House transportation committee.
On Wednesday, the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 66 ordered the DOTC not to continue with the procurement of additional light rail vehicles (LRVs) for the MRT-3.
The court was responding to a petition filed by Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC) and MRTC Limited (MRTCL) asking for the issuance of a TRO on the project.
The MRTCL entered into a Build-Lease-Transfer (BLT) agreement with the DOTC in 1999 to construct and maintain a light rail transit system for EDSA, eventually known as MRT-3.
Makati RTC presiding judge Joselito Villarosa noted in his two-page decision that under paragraph 5.2 of the BLT agreement, the MRTC would only lose its preferential right to supply light rail vehicles (LRVs) to MRT-3 if MRTC breached any of its obligations under the BLT agreement or if it consents DOTC to use LRVs that were not provided by them.
In 2013, DOTC awarded the P3.8-billion contract for the procurement of 48 new LRVs to CNR Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co. of China, after disqualifying another Chinese firm, CSR Zhouzhou, from the bidding.
Infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), however, had earlier expressed its interest to MRTC to expand MRT-3, offering to spend $300 million for the project.
The MRT expansion project aims to solve the problem of commuter congestion with the use of additional four-coach trains that would arrive every 2.5 minutes during peak hours from current system of three-coach trains every 3 minutes during peak hours.
The MRT-3 is currently servicing around 560,000 passengers daily during peak hours, which is almost double its designated capacity of 350,000. (MNS)