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New MRT3 maintenance provider eyed in May

Chrisee Dela Paz
New MRT3 maintenance provider eyed in May
Current MRT3 maintenance provider APT Global, with an accumulating record of technical glitches and safety lapses, is set to be replaced by end-May, DOTC says

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is set to replace the current maintenance provider of Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) within May, after it secures a government body approval for the contract’s terms by the end of this month.

DOTC spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal said in a text message Monday, May 4, that his department hopes to get the approval of the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) for the terms of the MRT3 maintenance contract within the month.

This is needed for the department to move forward with an emergency mode of bidding for the MRT3 maintenance contract.

Emergency bid

Sagcal explained that in an emergency bid, “it’s one-on-one, meaning we will call an investor group and discuss the terms of the deal.”

“[Our] presentation to the GPPB is supposed to be sometime within the week. We can’t go into that unless the GPPB approves our application for emergency mode procurement,” he added.

The DOTC said it targets to replace current maintenance provider Autre Porte Technique Global, Incorporated (APT Global) by the end of the month through an emergency bidding with a chosen contractor.

“We are ready to submit the TOR (terms of reference) to GPPB. We will just await schedule to present. We aren’t eyeing any contractor yet,” DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya confirmed in a text message.

In January, DOTC declared a failed bidding for the second time for the MRT3 P2.4-billion ($53.76 million) maintenance contract, despite dangling a higher concession payment and more flexible terms.

The contract was put on the auction block under a single-stage bidding process, where interested contractors submit qualification documents and make their technical and financial offer.

Record glitches, lapses

At the first failed bidding in October, the contract had 5 prospective bidders: the Busan Transport Corporation, Mosan-Inekon Philippines Limited Company, SMRT International Property Limited., Miescorrail, Incorporated, and DM Consunji, Incorporated. None of these 5 groups showed up.

The contract is not part of the Aquino government’s public-private partnership (PPP) program. It is also separate from the P500-million ($11.21 million) contract for consulting services accompanying the rehabilitation and capacity expansion of MRT3, which was rolled out in January.

But it is important enough as MRT3 current maintenance provider, APT Global, is being questioned for MRT3’s technical glitches and safety lapses, including having the train run with its doors open. The controversy had earlier prompted a congressional hearing.

Asked if the amount of the contract will still be P2.4 billion ($53.76 million) and the period will still be 3 years, Sagcal replied: “Method and amount will be dependent on GPPB approval.”

During the second bidding of the contract, DOTC adjusted the number of times the maintenance service provider will be fined. “Before, the penalty is per hour, now we made it once every 5 hours,” Abaya had said in January.

The unsuccessful second attempt to bid out the MRT3 maintenance contract came even as the government made the rules governing penalties for technical glitches “less stringent.”

“We made it less stringent to entice bidders and even adjusted the key performance indices, but despite that they didn’t come in. It’s hard to speculate why,” Abaya added.

The deal was supposed to be financed under the General Appropriations Act of 2014, which raised the contract’s budget by P200 million ($4.49 million) to P2.4 billion ($53.76 million) spread over 3 years or an annual P800 million ($17.94 million).

As an interim contractor, the government currently pays APT Global P57 million ($1.28 million) a month, or P684 million ($15.34 million) per year.

Until the government awards the 3-year contract to a new service provider, APT Global will continue to be in charge of the 16.9-kilometer rail system’s upkeep. –

$1 = P44.59

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