THE chair of the Committee of Public Services of the Senate of the Philippines, Senator Raffy Tulfo, has announced that he will launch an inquiry into the CRRC Dalian trains that have never entered service on Mass Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) in Metro Manila.

The inquiry is expected to start once Congress resumes its sittings on July 22.

Tulfo has announced the inquiry after personally inspecting the 12 four-car trains that have been stored out of use at the MRT-3 depot in North Avenue, Quezon City, since they were delivered 2017.

The trains were ordered at a cost of Pesos 3.7bn ($US 63.3m) as part of the MRT-3 upgrade programme to supplement the existing fleet and increase capacity.

According to Tulfo, the Aquino administration in power at the time was aware from the start that the new fleet would be incompatible with MRT-3 infrastructure, but insisted on continuing with the contract and taking delivery of the new trains.

Charges against some of those involved were brought before the Office of the Ombudsman that investigates misconduct in public office, but these cases were dismissed, Tulfo says.

According to the senator, the current administration would need to pay Pesos 2bn a year for maintenance alone if it intended to use the CRRC Dalian fleet.

Tulfo believes that rather than spending such “huge amounts” on defective rolling stock, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) should renegotiate the contract so that the trains can be returned and the purchase price refunded.

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