MRTC board committed to cooperate with DOTC

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I write in reaction to Neal Cruz’s Oct. 15 column titled “Directors ‘derail’ MRT-3 operations.” I wish to correct the statement that MPIC (Metro Pacific Investments Corp.)-designated directors led by Marilyn Aquino and Jose Maria Lim vigorously objected to the hiring of an interim maintenance provider and instead pushed for a one-year extension of the maintenance agreement with Sumitomo Corp. (Sumitomo).

A meeting of the board of directors of Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC) was held last Oct. 3, upon the request of the Department of Transportation and Communications, to take up the maintenance of MRT 3 and listen to the Sumitomo presentation. At the start of the meeting and in the presence of DOTC representative Al S. Vitangcol III (who is also the general manager of MRT 3), Lim stated that MPIC has no interest in MRTC retaining the services of Sumitomo or in the extension of its contract.

Before the Sumitomo presentation, Vitangcol told the MRTC board of the status of the negotiation between DOTC and Sumitomo for the extension of Sumitomo’s maintenance contract: (a) that the DOTC will no longer agree to extend the Sumitomo contract, and (b) that the DOTC proposes to return to MRTC the responsibility to engage a new maintenance provider of MRT 3 and would like MRTC to handle the selection and procurement of a new, interim maintenance provider with a 6-month maintenance contract within two weeks, because the DOTC may not be able to sign a new maintenance contract immediately after the expiration of the Sumitomo contract. (The procurement of maintenance provider was transferred to DOTC on Nov. 24, 2010.)

MRTC’s board is controlled by the nominee-directors of government financial institutions Land Bank and Development Bank of the Philippines. The MRTC board, including the nominee-directors of MPIC led by Aquino and Lim, did not oppose the decision of the DOTC not to extend the Sumitomo contract. However, the MRTC directors unanimously declined the request of Vitangcol for MRTC to assume the obligation to procure a new, interim maintenance provider for MRT 3 because the MRTC board, as a matter of good governance, believed that the two-week period given by DOTC was simply not enough for MRTC to undertake the proper selection of an interim maintenance provider.

MRTC is not abdicating its responsibility to maintain MRT 3, but the DOTC left MRTC with no other choice but to have the DOTC take responsibility for the interim period. As stated in MRTC’s letter of Oct. 4, 2012, MRTC is willing to resume the responsibility of maintaining the MRT 3 after six months, provided it is given sufficient time to undertake a proper selection process.

For the safety of the riding public and to ensure the reliability and integrity of MRT 3, the MRTC board, by a unanimous vote, agreed to extend all cooperation and assistance to allow the DOTC to appoint a new, interim maintenance provider.

—MARILYN VICTORIO-AQUINO, designated director in Metro Rail Transit Corp., Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

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