DOTr: File charges against passengers who cause MRT disruptions

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(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 16) Passengers who disrupt train operations may face civil and criminal charges, according to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

Secretary Arthur Tugade made this announcement after a reported unloading incident at the MRT.

"From now on lahat ng mahuhuling sumasandal o nagpipilit magbukas ng pinto ng tren kahit sarado na, kasuhan!" Tugade said during the Philippine Economic Briefing in Clark City, Pampanga Friday.

[Translation: From now on, any one who is caught leaning or forcibly opening the doors of the train even when it's closed, file a case against them!]

Speaking to CNN Philippines on Monday, DOTr Project Development officer Aly Nervaez issued a similar warning. She said that passengers who lean on doors or forcibly open them may face a civil case for damaging property and a criminal case for malicious mischief based on the deliberate intention of the passenger.

The department officer clarified that the filing of charges will require prior investigation based on reports from the MRT station heads.

"We are not saying that all the passengers who were reported to have leaned on the door or forced it open will be filed charges against. We will conduct a proper investigation and from that we will make a recommendation if there is a need to file charges against that passenger," Nervaez clarified.

The DOTr will be reviewing the current processes for reporting incidents such as passengers reporting suspicious persons and violators, which will then be coursed through the station heads.

Furthermore, the department is mulling over additional closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs) for improved monitoring of the incidents.


Passenger negligence

As he addressed a crowd of business groups and investors in Pampanga on Friday, Tugade talked about a passenger forcibly opening the doors of a southbound MRT train that morning.

"For the last 11 days, there was no unloading, it was smooth. Today we have the first unloading. Do you know the cause? There was someone who put pressure on the door. Pinilit na pumasok habang sarado na [He forced it open when it was already closed]," he said.

The gesture led to a "door failure" and the unloading of 1,000 passengers at the Santolan-Annapolis station, the first unloading incident since April 2.

Tugade said the incident was caused by a passenger's negligence and should not be attributed to a failure of on the part of the MRT, as authorities undertook a series of restorations during the Holy Week break.

"It's not about the parts, it's about the passenger. My instruction, identify this person," he said.

Nervaez said they have yet to identify the passenger who allegedly forced the train door open in the recent unloading incident.