Safety over convenience

  • Written by Mario Fetalino Jr.
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 301

CONTRARY to what Presidential spokesman Harry Roque is saying, the Department of Transportation should
shut down MRT.  It should stop running for at least 30 days or a month while it conducts a complete
and thorough safety and integrity assessment of all its systems.

The MRT should immediately suspend operations because it’s a tragedy waiting to happen as
shown by the spate of accidents and breakdowns. Malacañang should also come into the picture and  form
a top-level independent body composed of experts to perform a thorough assessment and investigation of
MRT operations.
The body should ascertain the integrity of its systems, safety and maintenance of the train
system which has been the subject of criticism for the longest time. Commuter safety is paramount.
Should the MRT, DOTr and the riding public trade safety for a little convenience? For what? So that
commuters will have something to ride in to go to work and traffic along EDSA does not get worse?
The state of MRT reflects the performance of all its officials and employees so they should
also be investigated.  Their showing and integrity should be checked to ensure that the MRT can still
continue to operate efficiently and safely. Shall we wait for these small accidents to turn big and
become a disaster before we do something drastic?
Again, it’s a tragedy waiting to happen. The breakdowns and accidents, we  should not  take
them  lightly because at the rate they’re going, they sum up to the possibility of a disaster. These
things have been going on for far too long. They are indications of not just of poor maintenance.
These are signs of criminal negligence, unbridled corruption, colossal incompetence and utter absence
of concern of MRT and DOTr officials, employees and their contractors and suppliers.
Come to think of it, MRT is much younger than LRT but its performance is a lot worse than
LRT’s. Why is there no similar breakdowns and accidents with LRT? There is something wrong with MRT
from the start,  from the entire design, concept, technology and construction.
Obviously, no band-aid or maintenance solutions will work now for MRT. What is needed is a
thorough assessment and evaluation of the entire system -- from technology, construction and
structural integrity, operations, maintenance, management, employee competence -- everything from top
to bottom.  Patchworks will no longer work.
While I agree that lives of half a million Filipinos would be adversely affected by an MRT
shutdown,  how would Roque defend  President Duterte  if people die in the next MRT accident?
Clearly, the priority is safety. Not convenience.

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