Palace: Aquino still confident in DOTC chief

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

TRANSPORTATION and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya still enjoys the trust and confidence of President Benigno Aquino III, a Palace official said Sunday.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. made the statement amid calls by some groups to fire Abaya after at least 38 people were injured when a train of the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) overshot the railway in Pasay City last August 13.

"Sasabihin ko lang po na patuloy ang kumpyansa at pagtitiwala ni Pangulong Aquino sa kakayahan ni Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya ng DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communications)," he said over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.


Commuters group Train Riders Network (Tren) said that Abaya should resign from his post following the incident.

The DOTC chief, who is one of the leaders of the administration Liberal Party, was allegedly focused in the 2016 elections and not on his job.

"Abaya is always busy for the 2016 elections while grossly negligent on the task of ensuring that the MRT and the public mass transport system are reliable and safe. If Abaya does not have the delicadeza, we call on President Aquino to fire him," the group said on Saturday.

Coloma said investigation has already been ongoing into the MRT-3 accident.

"‘Yon pong mismong partikular na insidente na naganap noong nakaraaang linggo ay iniimbestigahan na po. At ayon po sa naging pahayag ng DOTC, ilalabas nila ‘yung resulta nito sa Martes, August 19 — kung hindi ako nagkakamali," he said.

He reiterated that the safety of the commuting public is the primary concern of the government.

Meanwhile, on calls to expedite the delivery of new MRT trains, Coloma said that a timetable has to be followed.

"‘Yon po kasing pag-deliver, hindi po pwedeng madaliin ‘yon. Hindi naman po kasi off-the-shelf item lamang ang pinag-uusapan natin, capital equipment po ito, meron talagang takdang panahon para makumpleto ‘yung mga in-order na mga bagong sasakyan. At habang hindi po nagaganap ‘yan ay gagawa po ng lahat ng kinauukulang hakbang para tiyakin ang kaligtasan ng ating mga mamamayan," he said.

The DOTC has said that the delivery of 48 new coaches will start in August next year until 2017. (SDR/Sunnex)

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