MANILA – Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade told journalists without much elaboration on Friday that, contrary to initial speculations, work conflict at the department was NOT the reason behind the sudden resignation of Railways Undersecretary Cesar Chavez in the midst of the continuing problems besetting the Metro Rail Transit’s MRT3 service.
In fact, Secretary Tugade said, his office is still trying to convince Chavez to return.
Chavez was the fifth undersecretary to step down under the leadership of Tugade.
On Friday morning, in-house technicians of the DOTr spotted yet another potential weak coupling link between two train cars that could cause a repeat of the recent decoupling incident that happened in Makati City.
Tugade said his office is trying very hard to minimize downtime of the light rail commuter train service, but added, “these things require manpower and expertise that we don’t have, organically, at DOTr.”
The Department had not long ago canceled the controversial maintenance contract of Busan Universal Rail, and was directly performing maintenance work directly, albeit temporarily, in order to keep the system running without major disruption.
“The government does not have the capability to ensure everyday uptime of this service. I believe we need a service provider with the experience and technical know how.”
As for Chavez, Tugade said: “For the record, he [Chavez] has my full trust and confidence. And I really look forward to finishing our projects, together.”