The Department of Transportation and Communications’ probe on last week’s MRT mishap pointed to ‘human error’ as the cause of the accident that injured almost 40 people on Aug. 13.
In a press conference Tuesday, DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said that there had been poor coordination or reporting procedures between the train drivers and the control center supervisors.
Abaya said the MRT staff failed to follow protocol when a southbound MRT train got stalled past the Magallanes station Wednesday afternoon.
The stalled train, which lost power, was being pushed by an ‘assisting train’ when the coupling joining the two trains got unclasped. The stalled train lost control and got derailed, slamming into the steel barriers at the Taft Ave. station.
According to Abaya, “standard coupling procedures were not followed.”
The investigating team led by DOTC Undersecretary for Operations Edwin Lopez found out that only the driver of the assisting train performed the standard coupling and commenced hauling procedures even with no clear approval from the control center supervisor.
Under standard procedure, both drivers of the assisting and distressed trains were supposed to perform the standard coupling procedure.
Abaya also said the driver of the assisting train went over the 15-kilometer per hour speed limit and was running at about 40 kph.
“Based on the black box reading of assisting train, the driver went over the design speed,” he said.
Abaya said drivers Haigen Villacarlos and James Duque; control center personnel Joey Diokno, and another employee would face administrative raps, including dismissal from service and forfeiture of benefits.
Both drivers are contractual employees.
Abaya said the government would also prioritize the review and upgrade of all safety and operational procedures, particularly with regards to hauling or coupling procedure, passenger evacuation, and communication procedure.