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Vitangcol Admitted to Being Sacked while under Oath in Congress in 2014
 
Reacting to former Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) General Manager Al Vitangcol's recent statements regarding his exit from government, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) confirms that Vitangcol was relieved of his duties after his undeclared conflict-of-interest in the rail system's maintenance contract was exposed.
 
The DOTC officials had no knowledge that Vitangcol's uncle by affinity was the incorporator of PH Trams until this fact was revealed in media. It was this apparent act of dishonesty that served as basis for his being relieved of his duties as General Manager, since all trust and confidence in him was lost.

Vitangcol even admitted under oath at a committee hearing of the House of Representatives shortly after his departure in 2014 that he was indeed relieved of his duties. He also admitted to having received the official notice of his sacking on the same day that his conflict-of-interest was exposed.

Vitangcol, who had been appointed to head MRT-3 in 2012, is now facing charges filed with the Sandiganbayan by the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman investigated the procurement process conducted by the DOTC, and found no irregularity in the agency's actions. The DOTC has always stated that it strictly complies with procurement laws, and that it is committed to ensuring a level playing field, so that no under-the-table deals or favoritism may influence the award of its projects.

The Ombudsman concluded, however, that Vitangcol was guilty of having a conflict-of-interest in that bid. These findings reinforced the DOTC's loss of trust and confidence in Vitangcol due to his failure to disclose his relationship, which casted doubt on his honesty and character.

 

Press Release
March 31, 2016

genericGovernment Agencies Work Together to Ensure Safety of Travelers
 
In response to the bombing incidents in Belgium yesterday, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and all concerned agencies are working together to ensure continued safety of travel, as instructed by President Benigno Aquino III.
 
“We assure the public that the government is taking all the necessary measures to secure our airports, other transport facilities, and most especially our people, as they travel during this peak season and beyond. All concerned entities — from government and private sector alike — are ready to address any possible situation,” said DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya.
 
The DOTC has directed transport agencies and their security groups to be extra vigilant and further intensify security measures in additions to preparations made for the annual observance of Holy Week. Terminals and stations have been placed on heighted alert status. Other courses of action in order to bolster the security and safety of the public include implementation of checkpoint monitoring outside these transport facilities and increasing visibility of uniformed personnel.

“For the time being, we have no reason to fear similar events taking place in the country. We are merely taking precautionary steps and activating quick-response protocols in case any emergencies arise,” added Abaya.

 

Press Release
March 23, 2016

ss2016With an increased number of travelers expected in the coming days due to the annual observance of Holy Week, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has launched Oplan Ligtas Biyahe: Semana Santa 2016 last March 18 to ensure the safety and reliability of various modes of transportation.
 
All transportation agencies have been mandated to implement heightened security measures at terminals and enhanced services, which include the deployment of additional personnel in airports, sea ports, bus terminals, and highways. To address passenger needs and emergencies, facilities, such as public assistance desks, first-aid stations, additional seats, and charging stations, have been set up.
 
More frequent worthiness inspections on aircrafts, ships, and buses and random drug and alcohol testing will be done to make sure that these means of transport are compliant with safety standards and the personnel are not under the influence while conveying passengers.
 
The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) has instructed airline companies to deploy more personnel at check-in counters for efficient processing, shortening queues. Travelers are reminded not to bring prohibited items to the airport and to stow all belongings in one’s carry-on baggage for faster processing at the screening checkpoints.

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) reminds airlines to abide by the policies under the Air Passenger Bill of Rights (APBR), which sets out the minimum obligations of airlines to their passengers in case of any untoward incidents in relation to their flights.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has issued special permits for 832 additional provincial buses in order to meet the expected boost in passenger demand.

The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) reminds expressway operators to strictly implement traffic rules and regulations in order to avoid any unfavorable incidents. Roving teams will be deployed in areas where stoning incidents and vandalism of right-of-way fences occur, and for fast response to motorist emergencies.

Point-to-point bus services will be suspended from March 24 to 27 to give way to preventive maintenance works, while airport bus services will continue to run during Holy Week with the exception of March 25 (Good Friday).

The Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1), Line 2 (LRT-2), and Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) operations will be suspended from March 24 to 27 to allow heavy maintenance works. Operations will resume on March 28. The Philippine National Railways (PNR) will likewise suspend stop operations from March 24 to 26, but will resume on March 27.

Maritime agencies will be conducting rigorous security checks at port facilities and of passenger ships prior to their scheduled departures. The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will continue patrolling the seas and be on standby for rescue operations, if necessary.

The DOTC reminds all travellers to be cautious and alert in order to minimize accidents, and to abide by all safety rules and regulations, which will be strictly implemented by law enforcement agencies.

 

Press Release
March 21, 2016