2 Cabinet Secretaries, Congressman, well-connected lawyer lobbying to bring back BURI to MRT
Powerful forces in the Duterte administration are moving heaven and earth to bring back Busan Universal Railways Inc. (BURI) and its P3.8 billion maintenance contract to the EDSA Metro Railway Transit 3 (MRT-3).
In a report by Philippine Star columnist Jarius Bondoc, moves to restore BURI’s contract have gone into overdrive just a few days after the Department of Transportation terminated its contract last Nov. 7.
“Two Cabinet members, a powerful lawyer, and a congressman are lobbying to restore that inept company to its plunderous P3.8-billion contract,” said Bondoc.
Bondoc said this cabal was trying to parry efforts by “other retired generals are angling to insert equally inept contractors” to fill the void left by BURI.
“If they have their way, Duterte will reap the whirlwind. The past Aquino admin had incurred Mega Manilans’ wrath for the series of billion-peso MRT-3 contracts to Liberal Party mates. Duterte must not repeat the mistake,” said Bondoc referring to the terms of former Transportation Secretaries Mar Roxas and Jun Abaya.
BURI, which obtained the contract in January 2016, has refused to take blame for the breakdown in MRT operations and instead pointed to the railway’s design flaws, specifically the rail tracks.
Former DOTr Undersecretary Cesar Chavez, who pushed for the termination of the contract, earlier said that BURI overhauled only two of the 26 it had committed to refurbish by November this year.
Chavez also cited BURI’s failure to implement a feasible procurement plan for spare parts and put up a complete and up to date Computerized Maintenance Management System.
Less than three weeks after assuring the public that MRT would improve within three to six months after the BURI contract termination, Chavez handed in his irrevecable resignation last Thursday due to “delicadeza”.
Is the pro-BURI cabal behind Chavez’s forced resignation?