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MANILA, Philippines – Infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp (MPIC) is seeking for more transparency from the government as it prepares to bid for the P60-billion Light Rail Transit Line-1 (LRT-1) Cavite extension project.
Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, February 28, Jose Ma. K Lim, the CEO of MPIC, said that while they are definitely interested in bidding for the contract to build and operate the 11-kilometer rail extension project, they are also seeking clarification into the specifics of the existing 20.7-kilometer line.
The winning bidder will not only build and operate the rail extension reaching Cavite, but also operate and maintain both the new and existing line that will become about 32-kilometer long.
“We are an interested party…we have asked the government to give us more visibility on the upgrades to the existing line (LRT-1) because we will be required to operate the entire line (LRT-1 and LRT-1 Cavite extension) up to a certain standard of operation,” he said.
“While [the winning bidder is] only undertaking the extension [to Cavite of the existing line by] 11 to 12 kilometers, the other 20-kilometer is an existing line. These contracts that they’re awarding for the rail and the upgrade are not publicized,” he said.
He was replying to a question on how the government’s acquisition of 39 train cars from Japan, which is set to grant the Philippines a P30-billion concessional loan in March for this rail project, will impact their bid plans.
“We have no access to the specifications so we’ve asked them to allow us to take a look at that as part of the due diligence,” Lim stressed.
According to Lim, so far they have prepared their bids on the basis that they can meet the standards that they have published in the guidelines.
The rail project
The P60 billion LRT-1 Cavite extension project is the biggest infrastructure project under the Aquino administration’s public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.
MPIC is teaming up with the Ayala group to bid for the project via Light Rail Manila Consortium. MPIC holds 33% stake and is the lead member of the consortium that includes Ayala Corp. (33%) and its unit AC Infra Holdings Corp. (12%), Macquarie Infra Holdings (Phils) Pte Ltd. (10%), and RATP Devt. S.A., one participation unit.
Th extension part of the project will extend the existing 20.7-kilometer (km) LRT Line 1 system, which runs from Roosevelt Ave in Quezon City to Baclaran in Paranaque, by an additional 11.7 km southwards to Bacoor, Cavite.
Once completed, the new line will increase ridership of LRT1 from 500,000 to 700,000 passengers per day thus provide faster and more convenient alternative to residents of Cavite, Las Pinas and Paranaque.
The project cost will be equally split between the private sector and the government.
The government will oversee the turn-over of its possession of the existing Line 1 assets for rail operation and maintenance, acquisition and delivery of right of way, implement the automated fare collection system (AFCS) project, and ensure the application of periodic fare adjustments.
Meanwhile, the winning bidder is obligated to finance, design and construct the Cavite extension; undertakes immediately the operation and maintenance of existing system and the integrated system upon completion of the extension project; undertakes future system maintenance and upgrades; assumes ridership risk; receives fare box; and undertakes an approved commercial development. – Rappler.com