Heads must roll at DOTC, starting from the top

JUST as I was mulling the utter stupidity of the Department of Transportation and Communications’ (DOTC) idea to have two MRT-LRT common stations, breaking news on television suddenly broke that an MRT train barged through the wall of the Taft Avenue station, landing right on the EDSA-Taft street intersection. Some 37 were injured, a lot of them women and children including a six month old baby. They were on the front cars reserved for women, children, senior citizens and disabled.

Photo from GMA news of the runaway LRT train

Photo from GMA news of the runaway LRT train

At this very moment the MRT spokesman is explaining that it wasn’t a derailment but that a stalled train towards Magallanes station coupled and pushed by a working train was suddenly decoupled. Since the brakes were disengaged, it went through.

Occasional technical problems he said.

Just one too many, if you ask me. And definitely too much for its mother agency DOTC which has found itself almost daily hogging the headlines for one ineptitude or inefficiency or another.

Just earlier in the day Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) who, with the Ayala group, won the LRT expension project came out officially to say that the DOTC’s idea of having two MRT-LRT common stations cannot be possible as it would not make their operations viable. (Click here to read the story)

MPIC won the bid for the LRT extension. In the bid documents it specified that it includes the setting up of  of the LRT-MRT common station in the Ayala’s Trinoma mall.

But the problem is the common station was awarded years earlier to Ayala’s rival the SM group. It’s supposed to be by SM North, with an agreement that was signed, sealed and delivered, and paid P200 Million for, including for naming rights of the station.

In the years that followed since that signing DOTC and SM technical people and engineers had been meeting and coordinating until the digging works started. Suddenly, work stopped, the digging in front of SM was halted and even covered. The the government agency fell silent on the matter.

Only this year when the DOTC conducted the LRT extension bidding that it was revealed that the common station was transferred to Trinoma.

SM sued government, and a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) was issued by the Supreme Court halting the DOTC from giving the final award of the bid to winner MPIC.

After trying to justify its move by saying government will save P1 Billion by building the MRT-LRT common station at Trinoma, the DOTC now comes up with this smart idea of having two common stations. (Click here to read the story)

Add to this the various follies of DOTC agencies:

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) freeing all trucks and buses from their franchises causing horrendous traffic jams on Metro Manila’s thoroughfares;

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) unceremoniously freezing payment to its Information Technology provider yet still failing to successfully bid out the computerization vehicle registration and drivers license plus extreme delays in issuances of new vehicle plates and renewal stickers;

The extremely long commuter lines at the MRT stations (a heinous crime in itself if you ask me);

The extremely delayed refurbishing and lack of working toilets and airconditioning in the premier air gateway – Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) – not just Terminal 1 but not also Terminal 2;

The almost daily major accidents caused by trucks and buses on major thoroughfares C5, EDSA, Commonwealth and the expressways causing major loss of life, limb and property;

The absolutely poor performance of telecommunications and internet services in the country, including the inutile regulator National telecommunications Commission from enforcing rules against franchise holders;

And let’s not forget that MRT train supply brouhaha with the Czech ambassador crying bloody bribery versus MRT’s Al Vitangol III and other DOTC guys, and implicating even the President’s family members…

The list goes on.

And all of these just going downhill these past four years and no light at the end of the tunnel in the remaining two years of the Aquino administration.

Care for more clichés?


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