DOTC considered buying second-hand trains from Spain―Abaya | Inquirer Business
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DOTC considered buying second-hand trains from Spain―Abaya

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 03:12 PM October 01, 2014

 

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MANILA, Philippines—To address the    problem    of long lines in the     Metro Rail    Train 3 system, the government had    considered    buying    second-hand    rails from Spain, Transportation Secretary    Joseph Emilio Abaya told a Senate hearing    on    Wednesday.

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Abaya admitted this during the hearing of the    Senate sub-committee on transportation    after    the chairman of  Fil-Estate    group,    Roberto Sobrepeña, told the body     that     the     Department of Transportation and    Communication    (DOTC) during the past administration suggested buying second-hand trains    when he was still with the    MRT Consortium  (MRTC).

“They had the idea that it would be cheaper if we bought second    hand    trains    in 2007,” Sobrepeña    said, responding    to queries of Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero.

Philippine Ratings Services Corp., a debt watcher, has upgraded the rating of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3’s debt.

Metro Rail Transit Line 3

“This took us aback and we refused    to actually offer    the government second-hand trains. This    led to a long impasse and    discussions and letter-writing and I think we wrote a total of 15 letters to the DOTC with regard to this including    refusing to buy    second hand trains,” he said.

But Sobrepeña said    the MRTC’s    repeated    proposals to buy additional trains and improve the    MRT3 system fell on deaf ears, which    prompted     his group to enter into a cooperation    agreement with the    Metro Pacific Investments    Corp.

He said    the MRTC    even formally    wrote the    DOTC    to say    that    they were not     in favor of buying  hand-me-down trains.

Esudero then    asked Abaya to confirm     if    Sobrepeña’s claim    was true. But since he only assumed    office in 2012, the    DOTC chief    then    directed    the department’s assistant secretary for legal affairs,    Jaime    Fortunato Caringal, to answer the senator’s question.

“Yes your honor, in 2007 it was a request for them to procure 30    refurbished LRVs (light rail vehicles),” Caringal said.

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Asked if    the DOTC made the same    proposal in 2008, the official said, “Yes your honor it was a follow up to that.”

“Again, I’m not saying it’s you Secretary Abaya or Assistant Sec Caringal… why did the DOTC do this? Why would you propose that second cars be procured? What possible reason could the DOTC have?” asked    Escudero.

And when    no DOTC official    could  give him any answer, Escudero directed    his question to Sobrepena if    he had an inkling why the    DOTC made such proposal.

“I could not understand why they asked that. We vehemently refused to even consider and discuss second hand trains with them and this led to long period of impasse with the DOTC,”    Sobrepena said.

And    when Escudero    again asked Abaya if he was in favor of buying second-hand trains for    MRT3, Abaya admitted    that they had once considered accepting    the    second-hand    rails    offer from the    Spanish    government.

“Admittedly during    my time because of the situation of the rails, there was an offer from the Spanish government for second hand rails not because we want second    hand but more in the delivery…We were studying then if it was allowed but mainly to deliver a quick solution to the long lines…” Abaya said.

“They said it was    ready     but eventually we figured out it would be better to procure    rather than go second hand,” he added.

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