Palace nixes Duterte-BURI meeting

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 23 2017 01:24 PM | Updated as of Nov 23 2017 03:03 PM

MANILA - Malacañang on Thursday said there is no reason for President Rodrigo Duterte to meet with officials of the Busan Universal Rail, Inc (BURI), former maintenance provider of the problematic Metro Railway Transit (MRT-3).

BURI officials had on Wednesday sought an audience with Duterte so they could air their side over frequent glitches at the busiest rapid transit system in Metro Manila.

"We find no reason to have the requested meeting. We have already canceled the contract with BURI and the government decided to meanwhile take over the maintenance of MRT," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a news conference.

The government recently terminated its contract with BURI amid glitches hounding the train system.

Several days after contract termination, which BURI described as an "unceremonial kickout", MRT coaches got decoupled while between the Ayala and Buendia stations in Makati City, forcing passengers to walk on the rail. 

This prompted Duterte to issue an apology to the public over the current state of the train system.

The NBI was called in to look into possible "human negligence" while the MRT would investigate the technical aspect of the incident, said the train system's spokesman, Mike Capati.

Despite frequent MRT breakdowns, Duterte said he finds no reason to fire Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.