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MRT accident already foreseen as 'a disaster waiting to happen'


Dozens of Metro Rail Transit commuters were injured on Wednesday after a defective coach slammed into a steel barrier at the Taft Avenue station.
 
But the mishap perhaps came as little surprise to passengers stuck on the daily commute on the overcrowded train system.

One newspaper columnist Jarius Bondoc even foresaw the incident and noted that the MRT was "a disaster waiting to happen" almost three months ago. 
 
In his column in the Philippine Star last May 28, Bondoc wrote about the perils facing commuters of the train system.
 
"Any time, trains could collide, ignite, or fall off the elevated tracks onto busy EDSA below," wrote Bondoc, adding that there was lack of maintenance in the power supply, trains, tracks, and signal system of the MRT.
 
Bondoc also enumerated seven incidents, dating from November 3, 2012 to March 26, 2014, that purportedly proved that the MRT system was poorly maintained.
 
In the same column, Bondoc expressed alarm at the state of the metal tracks and the trains.
 
"Metal tracks and train tires no longer are grinded, thus the rough rides. Cracked segments of tracks are not replaced with new ones, but with those 'cannibalized' from the parking depot. Broken windshields are merely sprayed with sealant instead of replaced, posing risks to the passengers," he wrote. 

Bondoc has written a series of columns on the MRT issue, including an expose accusing former MRT general manager Al Vitangcol of nepotism. Vitangcol was subsequently removed from his position by the Department of Transportation and Communication.
 
Under investigation
 
MRT spokesman Hernando Cabrera said management is already investigating if Wednesday's derailment was caused by human error or a technical problem.
 
He said initial reports showed the train stalled while heading from Magallanes to Taft.
 
"Tumirik siya, nawalan ng power, technical problem," he said in an interview on dzBB radio.
 
Malacañang, meanwhile, also said it wants to know the cause of the wayward train's derailment. — JST, GMA News
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