MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has sent letters to four international certifiers to examine the construction of 48 new train coaches for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) bought by the Philippines from China.
DOTr Undersecretary for Rails, Cesar Chavez said the international third party will examine the 48 Dalian trains to determine its safety for passenger use.
The process will take three months. Once the international third party finds the coaches not compatible to the signaling system of the current trains used in the MRT, the DOTr will opt to return the coaches to China.
“If they say these are not operationally reliable, we will return it to China without spending any amount. Our option is to return these to China and have them fix it,” Chavez said.
Aside from the signaling system, there are also problems on the wheels of the new trains as these are bigger than the size of the rails of MRT.
The 48 Dalian trains are worth P3.8-billion.
The Philippines has already paid an amount of P800-million to the Chinese government.
The DOTr said the Philippine government will not ask for a refund of the amount, but instead it will ask the Chinese to repair the trains so it could still be used in the MRT.
The trains arrived in the Philippines in 2015.
However, after 2 years, the trains remain unusable for the millions of passengers of MRT.
On Wednesday, MRT operations encountered glitches six times, injuring two passengers when the train suddenly stopped.
In the Senate hearing on the proposed 2018 budget of the DOTr, Senator Grace Poe said officials involved in the purchase of the trains should be held liable in court.
The DOTr plans to return the Dalian trains to China before the end of the year. – Joan Nano | UNTV News & Rescue