The Aquino (Part II) administration has another brilliant idea to solve the multitude of problems arising from the operation of the Edsa light rail transit, known as MRT to its hundreds of thousands of despairing riders.
Because of the gravity of the MRT problem, the bright minds in the Department of Transportation and Communications, or the ever-controversial DOTC, wanted to defy gravity simply with this amazing solution: The government should spend P53 billion.
Again, that is only P53 billion. By the way the amount could also build some 53,000 new classrooms! It could also allow the government to hire more policemen to deter all those kidnappings in broad daylight in busy thoroughfare called Edsa.
Several kidnapping incidents in Edsa, executed rather boldly by gun wielding criminals, were reported in Chinese-language newspapers in the country in the past couple of days.
Anyway, according to our dear Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, the Aquino (Part II) administration could solve the problems of the MRT, simply by spending the P53 billion to gain full ownership of the train system.
Day in and day out, after all, to get just a one-way ride on the MRT, hordes of commuters must wait in the streets outside the stations for at least 40 minutes under sweltering sun or drenching rain—doing nothing, just waiting.
In other words, MRT commuters must allot almost three hours a day for the two-way trip on the light rail—going to work and coming home—although trains are supposed to be the most efficient urban transportation system known to mankind.
On top of the long wait, the commuters must risk life and limb when they take the accident-prone Edsa line, which actually prompted the Senate to investigate the problems of the MRT that, after all, has been operated by the government exclusively.
Thus to our beloved DOTC, said to be operated via remote control by another bigshot in the Liberal Party of our dear leader Benigno Simeon (a.k.a. BS), mere government ownership of the MRT should do the trick.
And so it seemed that the DOTC was laying the blame on some other groups for the miserable maintenance of the MRT, and the groups would probably include the MRTC, which built the system in the 1990s.
The only thing is that, all throughout the term so far of our dear leader BS, only the DOTC—and nobody else—has taken full control of the operations and the maintenance of the MRT.
In fact, based on various news reports, the DOTC has rather been charitable in its contracts with some entities for the MRT maintenance in the past couple of years, with one contract involving some P500 million in just nine months.
The remote control operated DOTC awarded maintenance contracts on piecemeal bases, lasting for six months, extended for another three months, when it would normally take more than a year just to order spare parts for the system.
Previously, at least under the cute administration of Gloriaetta, the MRT would not settle for just any maintenance company. The MRT hired no less than the highly experienced Sumitomo group of Japan for the maintenance under long-term contracts.
Not only that, the DOTC also controlled the process for the acquisition of new MRT trains and cars, as it even got embroiled in a “extortion” controversy which was exposed by the Czech ambassador and the executives of the supplier called Inekon.
Question: If the DOTC exercised complete control over the MRT, its maintenance in particular, how could the serious problems of breakdowns and accidents ever be somebody else’s fault?
And here we have the DOTC boss, who is said to be running for public office in his home province of Cavite, telling us that the government will have to spend P53 billion to buy the system.
Well, the government already exercised full control over the operation and maintenance of the MRT, and our gravity-defying guy from Cavite, our beloved Abaya, wanted to spend P53 million to take full control of … well, what else?
Here is another thing that defies reason: All the private casinos in this country actually do not pay income taxes to the government for all the billions of pesos in gambling earnings over the past several years.
And the reason behind such a virtual exemption from income tax payments is that, well, it is part of the contracts of the private casinos with the government.
Question: How were they able to sneak such an amazing feature in their contracts, in the first place?
Anyway, the BIR already took notice of the nonpayment of income taxes by the private casinos. The BIR insisted that the government must collect the billions of pesos in income taxes from them.
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