Mar Roxas withholds purchase of MRT coaches to review MPIC proposal

MANILA, Philippines - Transportation secretary Mar Roxas said his agency will put on hold the P4.5 billion budget to buy new MRT-3 coaches to make way for the proposal of the Metro Pacific group to modernize the train system.

MANILA, Philippines – Transportation secretary Mar Roxas said his agency will put on hold the P4.5 billion budget to buy new MRT-3 coaches to make way for the proposal of the Metro Pacific group to modernize the train system. 

The Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investment Corp has offered to modernize the train system for $300 million.  

“We will have a clarificatory meeting with them next week. By then we would have a clear comparison of their proposal versus ours. The results of the review will then be shown to the policy makers of the government,” Roxas said on Friday. 

President Benigno Aquino III approved the release of P6.3 billion to acquire new coaches. Of the amount, P4.5 billion will be spent to buy 26 coaches for the MRT line 3.  

The 26 additional coaches for MRT-3 are meant to increase its loading capacity by as much as 60% to 37,824 passengers per peak hour in each direction. Currently, 23,640 passengers take the train per peak hour per direction.

“The government plans to acquire 26 coaches versus MPIC’s proposal of 73. We need to take a look if the 26 is enough or if we need the entire 73. Also, we have to study the conditions attached to their proposal such as the proposed fare and possible extension of the contract. All of which have to be taken into serious consideration,” said Roxas.

“We offered $300 million to refurbish the system. That decision to accept or not our proposal is up to the government now. We do hope that government will take a look at it,” said Manuel Pangilinan, chairman of Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC), last week when asked for comment on government’s effort to undertake the capacity expansion of MRT line3. – Move.PH