MANILA, Philippines – The search for a new maintenance provider for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) line 3 was stalled anew on Tuesday, January 20, after the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) failed to receive any bids for the train system’s 3-year maintenance contract.
The contract thus remains with its current contractor Autre Porte Technique Global Inc. (APT Global).
“No groups submitted bids,” DOTC spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal told Rappler in a text message Tuesday.
January 20 was the deadline of the submission of bids for MRT3’s P2.2 billion ($49.27 million*), 3-year maintenance contract.
“The BAC (bids and awards committee) will have to declare a failure of bid and conduct a mandatory review in accordance with rules, to determine what further adjustments should be made in order to make the project acceptable to interested groups,” said Sagcal.
The original deadline for the submission of bids was on October 13, 2014, but this was reset to a later date upon the request of interested parties. The first bidding, however, was declared a failed bidding.
As a result, the DOTC will retain the services of APT Global, which bagged a one-year concession in September 2013.
Prospective bidders had raised the following concerns: the amount of penalties to be imposed by the government on the maintenance contractor for certain violations, plus the key performance indicators to be delivered.
This, as DOTC slapped APT at least P27.1 million ($606,921.70*) for the glitches that occurred since it began servicing the MRT3.
MRT3 is a ‘hot potato’
A former maintenance contractor of the MRT3 on Monday, January 19, explained one reason why there are no takers of the contract.
“It’s a hot potato. You can’t hold it because everybody is looking at it. Now tomorrow comes a new maintenance provider. But what do you think how much headlines this company is going to produce?” Rolf Johann Bieri, a consultant for the Commbuilders and Technology Philippines Corporation (CB&T).
In an exclusive interview with Rappler Monday, CB&T executives said the government should welcome unsolicited proposals on how to overhaul the MRT3, rather than setting bidding terms that allegedly hinder much-need improvements in the system.
CB&T is the maintenance contractor of LRT1. It also went into partnership with Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corporation for an interim maintenance contract – the basis of a graft complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilion Abaya and 20 others. – Rappler.com
*$1 = P44.65