DOTC invites foreign rail experts to maintain MRT3

Chrisee Dela Paz
DOTC invites foreign rail experts to maintain MRT3
The Department of Transportation and Communications says it targets to award the P4.3-billion ($91.95 million) MRT3 maintenance contract in October

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine transportation department has invited 4 foreign rail experts to maintain the oldest and most congested elevated railway system in Metro Manila.

During a budget hearing at the House of Representatives on Tuesday, September 15, Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) General Manager Roman Buenafe disclosed that “the DOTC has sent invitations to 4 groups as prospective long-term MRT3 maintenance providers.”

These are Germany’s Hamburg Public Transport Network (HVV)-DM Consunji, Incorporated; Korea’s Busan Transport Corporation; Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT); and Korea Railroad Corporation-Jorgman Planning and Development Corporation.

Other than these groups, “3 other foreign groups have bought bid documents,” Buenafe said, without divulging the names of the companies.

On August 20, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) finally secured the approval of the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) to enter into a negotiated contract that will fast-track the procurement of a 3-year maintenance provider of the MRT3.

Worth billions of pesos

Asked for the cost of the contract, Buenafe said it “will be around P4.3 billion ($91.95 million).”

“We’re targeting to award the contract in October, and to have the new maintenance provider begin its services in January next year,” Buenafe said on the sidelines of the briefing.

It was in March – just after the DOTC declared a second failed bidding for MRT3 maintenance provider – when the department sought GPPB approval for the negotiated procurement.

In its request, the DOTC cited the immediate need for a 3-year total maintenance provider, as well as the general overhaul of existing train coaches and the replacement of the system’s signaling system.

“We are stepping up because of the private owner’s failure to maintain the system properly,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya told lawmakers during the hearing.

The DOTC has blamed private owner Robert John Sobrepeña-controlled MRT Holdings, Incorporated II (MRTH II) for failing to add coaches.

Abaya said his office has “stepped in to upgrade MRT3’s facilities” by adding coaches, conducting proper train overhauling, and upgrading the signaling system, among others.

While waiting for GPPB approval, the DOTC has also resorted to the current 6-month multi-discipline approach, wherein different maintenance contractors were engaged for each of the 7 components of MRT3.

This took place after the failure of the DOTC’s two previous attempts to bid out the 3-year maintenance contract in October 2014 and January 2015. –

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