Government is paying a whopping P80.049 million to Metro Rail Transit 3’s maintenance service provider, the Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI), for three years just for the water supply needed to wash MRT 3 Light Rail Vehicles (LRV), a party-list lawmaker revealed on Thursday.
Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-List Rep. Jericho Nograles said BURI is charging MRT 3 at least P74,000 daily or at least P2.22 million per month just for washing LRVs.
This is comparable to a car wash service provider rendering services to at least 500 cars every day, including holidays.
“The Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI) is perhaps the world’s most expensive car wash service provider,” Nograles said even as he called on Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to nullify the alleged anomalous contract involving BURI.
Nograles alleged that the service contract entered into by the government for the maintenance of the MRT 3 is “patently anomalous and invalid” and therefore should be terminated by the DOTr.
“Secretary Tugade should already terminate this very anomalous contract. The government should stop all payments for BURI due to non-compliance of the terms of their contract.
The Duterte administration should not be carrying this burden of getting the flak for the malfeasance and misfeasance of the past administration,” Nograles said.
Citing a signed report prepared by the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) that handled the negotiated contract entered into by BURI and the defunct Department of Transportation and Communications then headed by former secretary Emilio Abaya, Nograles said it was revealed that part of the P3.8-billion maintenance service contract is an P80.049-million allocation for the water needed for “LRV maintenance” for a period of three years.
This item immediately drew a red flag on the part of the BAC panel then led by DoTC undersecretary for Planning Rene Limcaoco as they pointed that the previous service provider, the Sumitomo Corp., was only charging MRT 3 P350,000 per month or P12.6 million for three years, Nograles said.
“The offer of Busan Joint Venture for this item is high and the same is required to be clarified,” Nograles said, quoting the signed report of the panel.
Instead of providing a detailed breakdown on how BURI arrived with the P80.049 million in relation to its water requirement for cleaning LRVs, Nograles said BURI simply explained that “any savings generated from this will be re-allocated as a contingency fund which shall be utilized to fund other requirements for the Contract.”
He said this provision for the supposed re-allocation of all saving to the contingency fund has been the standard response to all of the BAC panel’s observations on the excessive maintenance cost being charged by BURI.
Nograles added that the BAC panel also observed excessive cost on BURI’s Common Service Waste Management (CSWM) service amounting to P15.696 Million for three years as it noted that Sumitomo only charged P720,000 for three years or P20,000 per month, thereby jacking up the amount by as much as 46 percent. The CSWM simply involves the collection of all wastes inside MRT 3 facilities.
“BURI did not even spend time making a detailed explanation on the derogatory observations made by the panel. They simply cut and paste a packaged response that all savings derived from their excessive fees will be re-allocated to the contingency fund. Now the big questions is, where is the contingency fund and who is administering the contingency fund?” Nograles said as he urged the Commission on Audit (CoA) to look into the contingency fund being cited by BURI.
Apart from overpricing, Nograles said that BURI’s contract is also “invalid.”
“The contract itself is anomalous, defective and not compliant with pertinent laws on the government procurement of goods and services,” he said.