DOTC: New long-term MRT3 maintenance provider in January
MANILA, Philippines – The oldest and most congested elevated railway system in Metro Manila will be maintained by a new, long-term service provider in January 2016.
After 5 months of waiting, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) finally secured the approval of the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) to enter into a negotiated contract to fast-track the procurement of a 3-year maintenance provider of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3).
"We were given the go signal by the GPPB last August 20 to pursue this mode of negotiated procurement. We're targeting to award the contract within the year, and to have the new maintenance provider begin its services in January next year," DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in a statement.
DOTC said the GPPB unanimously approved the negotiated mode of procurement in recognition of the urgent need to address the railway's maintenance requirements.
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.
"These are essential in order to address the core problems of obsolescence and complete wear-and-tear," DOTC said.
Blaming private owner Robert John Sobrepeña-controlled MRT Holdings, Incorporated II (MRTH II) for failing to add coaches, DOTC said it has already "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.
Invitation to maintain MRT3
Under the multi-discipline approach, MRT3 management has been able to increase the number of operating coaches during peak hours to 45 as of the beginning of August. It aims to bring it back up to 60 by November.
The new long-term maintenance provider will take over from these 7 multi-discipline contractors when their services expire in January.
In line with the GPPB-approved plan, the DOTC has invited several well-established, reputable international expert groups in the railway maintenance industry.
Asked which groups the DOTC invited, DOTC Spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal said: "We cannot disclose until we award the contract. We will announce then."
DOTC said the rules also provide that bid securities are not required for negotiated procurement activities.
The Department of Justice and the National Economic and Development Authority have also approved this negotiated mode of procurement for the long-term maintenance contract. – Rappler.com