Gov't signs deal to procure MRT-3 signalling system parts

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 9) — Another company that helped create the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) is back.

The Transportation Department said in a statement Friday that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Canadian firm Bombardier, which designed and maintained the MRT-3's signalling system for its first 12 years of operations.

A signalling system is used to direct railway traffic and keep trains clear of each other.

Under the agreement, the government will buy parts from Bombardier via direct contracting and emergency procurement. The company will also maintain the signalling system for two years.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said Bombardier's "exceptional" track record will help address the rail line's signalling-related issues, which he said is one of the top three causes of MRT-3 breakdowns.

"For years, non-(original) signalling spare parts were used and installed, in an effort to save on costs and increase profit at the expense of MRT-3's safety and reliability," he said. "That is why this time, we want to be sure that we get the right spare parts and that we maintain the system right."

An audit conducted by Bombardier on June 2017 revealed that then-maintenance provider Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI) acquired unauthorized signalling components for periodic maintenance.

Read: DOTr: Canadian firm Bombardier to inspect MRT signalling systems by February

In November 2017, the government announced that Japanese company Sumitomo Corporation and technical partner Mitsubishi Heavy Industries — which designed and built the MRT-3 and had maintained it from the start of operations in 2000 until 2012 — would return as the rail line's maintenance provider.

Read: DOTr: New MRT-3 maintenance provider could start work by April 2018

On Nov. 6, 2017, the government took over the MRT's maintenance from BURI due to the company's alleged failure to operate the railway efficiently.

Read: DOTr: Gov't to take over MRT maintenance