Group hits Aquino over MRT problems, extortion try

7 Apr

A network of train commuters condemned Pres. Noynoy Aquino today for his inaction over problems in the MRT’s operation and his refusal to sack the MRT chief over the latter’s involvement in an extortion attempt, claiming the chief executive is again “Noynoying” on the job.

The Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (RILES) Network claimed that not only has MRT general manager Al Vitangcol III failed to solve the many problems in the MRT’s operation, he appears to be more interested in extorting huge sums of money from prospective contractors.

The MRT has been the target of irate comments in social networking sites because of long queues in its stations and accidents in its trains.

Aquino has rejected calls for Vitangcol’s leave of absence and has merely ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to probe into the MRT chief’s alleged involvement in an attempt to extort $30 million from Czech train car builder Inekon Group in exchange for a contract on the purchase of new trains.

“The MRT chief is known for two things: problems in the MRT’s operation and this extortion attempt. It is unforgiveable that Aquino has not intervened to solve MRT’s problems and has not removed Vitangcol from his post,” said Sammy Malunes, RILES Network spokesperson.

The network claimed that out of the original 24 coaches of the MRT, only 15 are functional, blaming Aquino for allowing the MRT’s private contractor for maintenance, APT Global, to penny-pinch on repairs and the purchase of spare parts.

“Aquino, who likes to be known for berating government officials publicly, is obviously going very soft on Vitangcol. We cannot help but think that Vitangcol is very close to the president or the president’s Kamag-anak, Kabarilan at Kaklase,” Malunes stated.

Vitangcol has been appointed by former Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas.

Malunes also said that the Aquino government seems to be waiting for new coaches to be delivered on the first quarter of 2015 and has been silent on APT Global’s failures so as not to undermine its privatization projects under its Public-Private Partnership program.

“The president seems to be waiting for a major accident in the MRT before he acts on the train system’s problem. He is very respectful of contracts entered into by the government with private companies even if these have been giving the public service that’s substandard,” stated Malunes.

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