Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Government rejects Metro Pacific offer for MRT-3 takeover

The government has rejected Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC)’s unsolicited proposal to take over the operations and maintenance of Metro Rail Transit Line-3 (MRT-3).

In a recent interview, MPIC president and CEO Jose Ma. Lim said the Department of Transportation (DOT) has returned the proposal to the company. “I think the Department of Transportation has decided to pull it. I don’t know if they are going to do it themselves or consider bidding it out. But our original proposal has been returned already,” Lim said.

The MPIC was given the original proponent status by the DOTr to rehabilitate as well as operate and maintain MRT-3 in 2017. Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade in an interview in October 2018 first made known what seemed to be a change in government direction for MRT-3, saying then that he intends to make the project a solicited proposal.

Tugade has said that while they may still consider MPIC’s unsolicited offer, he wants a package that will be “lock, stock and barrel.” At the same time, the DOTr has also decided to tap anew the services of Japan’s Sumitomo and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as the rehabilitation and maintenance service providers of the train system.

The 43-month rehabilitation and maintenance contract signed with the Japanese firm in December 2018 covers the entire 16.9-kilometer line, all the 13 stations, the remaining 72 light rail vehicles, and the MRT-3 Depot on North Avenue, Quezon City. With the return of the Japanese firms for the train system’s rehabilitation works, Lim said earlier the group is considering to reconfigure its proposal.

MPIC chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, meanwhile, said last year the group is willing to give up the original proponent status for MRT-3 proposal should the project become unviable for the group. MRT-3, which runs from North Ave. station in Quezon City to Taft station in Pasay City, started operating in 2000 and the first round of general overhaul was completed by Sumitomo in 2008.
MPIC was looking to take over the MRT-3 operations in tandem with the Ayala Group and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd.
SOURCE: www.philstar.com