DOTr eyeing blacklist of MRT maintenance provider

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Commuters on the MRT. INTERAKSYON FILE PHOTO

MANILA – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is considering to blacklist Metro Rail Transit (MRT) maintenance provider Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI) from entering into any contract with the government amid the recent breakdowns of the railway system.

The DOTr has reiterated its position that it will terminate the maintenance contract of BURI, arguing that it was void from the beginning.

In an inquiry by the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability last week , DOTr Undersecretary for Legal Affairs and Procurement Reinier Paul Yebra said his office has already recommended the termination of the BURI contract and is now awaiting report verification by the MRT-3 management.

The department also plans to file charges against those involved in the MRT maintenance contract before the Office of the Ombudsman.

MRT officials likewise denied the claims of BURI that it did not bill the government for two Vehicle Logic Units (VLU) amounting to P4 million.

During the hearing, they presented documents from BURI that would prove that the firm has billed the government for the 2 VLUs and installed them in cars no. 6 and 63.

A VLU, which costs P2 million each, is part of the Automatic Train Protection system which controls the speed and brakes of a train to avoid overspeeding, keeps safe distance between trains, and applies brakes to avoid collisions.

It was also disclosed that BURI was only issued its Certificate of Incorporation from the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) after it was awarded the MRT maintenance contract.

“DOTC awarded the maintenance contract to BURI on Dec 23, 2015 but such consortium was only registered with SEC January 4, 2016. Hindi lang fake ang spare parts. Fake din ang contract (Not only the spare parts are fake but also the contract),” Pampanga Rep. Aurelio ‘Dong’ Gonzales said.

The committee asked the MRT-3 management to submit all documents including the maintenance contract signed during the previous administration and a list of names involved in the approval of the contract for the next hearing.
It also directed the MRT management to submit its own investigation report.

The DOTr recently withheld the payment of the VLUs due to the failure of BURI to provide the necessary supporting documents such as the Factory Inspection Report and Certificate of Origin.