The Duterte administration is studying the possible transfer of operations of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 under the privately-run Light Rail Transit in a bid to address not only frequent train breakdowns but other concerns besetting the current set-up.
Transportation Undersecretary for Rails Ceasar Chavez said privatizing the MRT-3, with the LRT Authority acting as a regulator, is one of the options they are eyeing.
“We have to look at the entire structure and system of MRT-3. MRT-3 privatization is not enough. We also need to fix the system,” Chavez told the Senate committee on public services chaired by Senator Grace Poe.
“To be clear, we need fiscal autonomy, inter-operability, and a real regulator because right now the organization of MRT-3 is just a project management office of DOTr,” he said.
Ideally, the MRT is not supposed to be placed under DOTr as the agency should only be in charge on policies.
It should have followed the set-up of LRTA, with its Line 2 already privatized under the Light Rail Manila Corp., Chavez said.
Asked by Poe if there will be any legal challenge or conflict, Chavez said the direction should be geared toward a buyout.
The privatization of the maintenance and operations of MRT would not pose a problem as the LRTA would only be acting as a regulator, he said.
“This is just a suggestion. It’s still being studied by the office of Sec. (Arthur) Tugade. There’s no finality in it yet,” he added.