By Vanne Elaine P. Terrazola
Senate President Koko Pimentel wants Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stocks Co. blacklisted from all government contracts for delivering trains incompatible with the Metro Rail Transit 3.
Pimentel also demanded that the Chinese company return to the government the P3.8-billion paid for the procurement of the 48 trains, which remain unused due to incompatibilites with the present train system, including being too heavy for the rails.
“Cancelling the contract and returning the coaches is not enough. What we have here is a supplier who knowingly supplied equipment that is not suitable for the MRT. We can’t just let them get away with it with no penalties whatsoever,” Pimentel said.
The Senate chief, who had also demanded a full refund from Sanofi Pasteur over the P3-billion Dengvaxia fiasco, said all future suppliers of Philippine government projects should “be aware of the consequences of giving defective products for their contracts.”
The Department of Transportation, under then Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, in 2016 purchased the trains from Dalian supposedly to aid in the operations of the troubled MRT-3, plagued by frequent breakdowns, long queues, and overcrowding.
Pimentel’s appeal came after last Wednesday’s public hearing in the House of Representatives in which MRT 3 General Manager Rodolfo Garcia and House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez figured in a word war over the possibility of using the Dalian coaches to increase the number of MRT 3 trains currently operating.
The DoTr last month tapped independent consultants to assess the trains. If the 48 trains are cleared to run, the MRT 3’s three-car trains may be increased to four-car trains, it said.