TAGALOG VERSION: ANG “LRT-2″ AY MALI, ANG “MRT-2″ AY TAMA
Most of you might say “HUH DI KAYA! Ang MRT ay yung nasa EDSA”. But I want to ask you something that would make you think, how come no matter how we compare the Line traversing from North Avenue to Taft Avenue we cannot compare it to Taiwan, Singapore or Malaysia MRT and why is it that the only thing we could compare to these systems is the Line traversing from Santolan to Recto? Also to those who are taking the LRT-1 nowadays, haven’t you noticed the violet/purple tickets showing the phrase “MRT Line 2” as well as the Gloria blue stored values showing “This ticket is honored at LRT Line 1 and MRT Line 2”. No it’s not a mistake, in fact those are correct and let this article explain and enlighten you.
Let me first define the acronyms LRT and MRT in the global sense. LRT is defined as “Light Rail Transit” which according to globally accepted definition is “a system which runs on medium-capacity, electric cars running on rails.” or in more common terms is “a rail system which could be operated on the street level or grade separated guideways utilizing modern and faster tram-like trains called as “Light Rail Vehicles” or “LRVs”. Alternatively if they are operating on grade seperated guideways and consists of more than three LRVs per set, they may be called as “Light Rapid Transit” or “Light Metro”. As opposed to LRT, MRT is globally defined as Mass Rail Transit or Mass Rapid Transit. It is “a high-capacity urban public transit system using underground or elevated trains” which in common terms is ” a rail system operating on elevated or underground guideway that utilizes heavy rail trains either powered by diesel or more commonly electric which are called as Diesel Multiple Units/DMU or Electric Multiple Units/EMU. It is alternatively called as Metro or Subway in other regions.”
So where did the “Metro Rail Transit” of the MRT-3 which we though is the real meaning of “MRT” came from then? “Metro Rail Transit” stems from the new name of the private concessionaire that won the Build-Operate-Transfer or BOT contract for line traversing from North Avenue to Taft Avenue which was the “Metro Rail Transit Corporation” or “MRTC” from the original “EDSA LRT Corporation Limited” or “ELCL”. It utilized its new name to their system in order for them to distinguish it from the other Light Rail Transit line traversing from Baclaran to Roosevelt which was the “LRT-1″ operated by the government owned and controlled corporation, the“Light Rail Transit Authority”.
So what is the historical background on all of this?
Over the years as there was a need to build the Line 2 which was supposed to be built before Line 3, it was decided then that an Official Development Assistance Loan from Japan would be utilized by the government to build it. But being tied to the terms set by the donor country which was Japan, it was decided that a Mass Rail Transit or MRT would be built by the winning consortium “Asia-Europe MRT Consortium” instead of the Light Rail Transit utilized by both LRT-1 and MRT-3 citing the boom in the Philippine economy as well as population. Upon knowing that this project will be owned and operated by the government, it haphazardly passed it on through the LRTA incorporated under Executive Order 603 and amended by Executive orders 830 and 210 which is only mandated to operate government owned and controlled Light Rail lines which was to complement the LRT-1. By looking at the definition of the LRT above, it could be seen how Line 2 would not fall under the category of LRT or Light Rail. Then-President Gloria Arroyo and Cabinet members are well aware of such that is why they indicated in the maps that it was “LRTA- Line 2″ or “MRT Line 2″ because it was only a Mass Rail Transit Line operated by the Light Rail Transit Authority. Up until before the Arroyo administration stepped down in 2010, everything was either LRTA Line 2 or MRT Line 2 but as a new administration and officials ushered in, presumably being ignorant between the difference of Light Rail Transit and Mass Rail Transit, they started to use the colloquial and incorrect term “LRT-2″ in most documents as well as using the “Mass Rapid Transit-Line 3″ phrase on the new “Metrorail yellow line logo” of the MRT-3 which could present a legal problem in the future plus a distortion of facts to us people.
So if Line 2 is not an LRT then how come the recorded PA system says “Thank you for patronizing the LRT…” or “Maraming salamat po sa pagtangkilik sa LRT…”? According to insider info, this was something that was overlooked by those in charge of the PA recordings in addition to the order of then-president Gloria Arroyo to inaugurate the system as soon as possible before the elections. This resulted in it being rushed in order to put it in her campaign for re-election in the 2004 Presidential elections as part of her achievements and thus lacking the time to rectify such mistake.
It could be seen here how our government deceived us even in the smallest of things such as one letter as presented above, how much more would we expect on bigger issues such as the fare hike and the Mamasapano incident?
This is not a plea for ouster of the current administration but a challenge to give us what we as tax paying people deserve and a call for transparency and rectification of mistakes. Because if we are truly his “boss” and he pledged that he would “correct what is wrong (Itatama ang Mali)“, through the “Tuwid na Daan” platform then they would start by heeding to changing a single letter from “L” to “M” in Line 2 and start plus promote calling it MRT-2 instead of the current “LRT-2″ in showing their sincerity towards their promise to us. More than anything this is also challenge to all of us, to the sorry state of education in our country, to our countrymen who were not as fortunate as most of us to go and finish school, to the erroneous knowledge that our education system as well as our society barely notices.
With this I call upon you my fellow citizens especially the media and influential people to join this advocacy towards challenging our government as well as ourselves to take action through your support in this simple but meaningful act of “pagtutuwid” starting with the changing the incorrect “LRT-2” into the correct MRT-2
(To know more on how to participate, please see the “about” tab on the WordPress website or Facebook page and also please click and sign-up in the petition form link below)