By Wilnard Bacelonia

GATHERING DUST. Senator Raffy Tulfo (right) visits the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 Depot in North Avenue, Quezon City on Tuesday (June 18, 2024). The chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Services vowed to investigate the 48 Dalian trains gathering dust at the depot since their delivery in 2017. (Photo courtesy of Senator Tulfo’s office)

MANILA – Senator Raffy Tulfo on Wednesday said he would schedule an investigation after the sine-die adjournment to look into the 48 unutilized Dalian trains of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 due to unresolved incompatibility issues with the railway system.

In a news release, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Services said those responsible for the mess should be held accountable.

He made the statement after he inspected the controversial trains purchased in 2017 and gathering dust at the MRT-3 Depot in North Avenue, Quezon City on Tuesday.

Nakatiwangwang lang at nababalot na ng alikabok ang 48 Dalian trains na gawa ng China na nagkakahalaga ng PHP3.7 billion simula noong ito ay ma-deliver noong 2017 (The 48 Chinese-made Dalian trains costing PHP3.7 billion are left unused and covered in dust since they were delivered in 2017),” Tulfo noted.

The senator also found out that the Aquino administration was aware from the beginning that the specifications of Dalian’s wagons were incompatible and non-compliant with the country’s MRT system, but still insisted on continuing the contract and accepting its delivery.

While some individuals were charged before the Ombudsman over the controversy, Tulfo pointed out that the cases were dismissed.

At kung sakali mang piliting gamitin at patakbuhin ng ating gobyerno ang mga Dalian trains, kailangang sumuka muli ang pamahalaan ng panibagong limpak-limpak na pera na magkakahalaga sa dalawang bilyong piso kada taon para lang sa maintenance (If the government pursues using the Dalian trains, it needed to cough up PHP2 billion yearly just for maintenance alone),” he pointed out.

Instead of “spending huge amounts” for the maintenance of defective trains, he suggested that the Department of Transportation re-negotiate the contract so that the trains can be returned and the amount of money spent be refunded.

Congress will resume sessions on July 22. (PNA)