Selection of new MRT3 maintenance provider moved to June

MANILA, Philippines – The government changed its target month for the selection of a new maintenance and rehabilitation provider for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) from May to June, as signing a loan deal with the Japanese government is taking more time than initially expected.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Tuesday, May 15, said in a statement that an appraisal mission was conducted last week through technical discussions with officials of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

"After completing the appraisal mission, DOTr and Japan will now move on to signing of the loan agreement and the mobilization of the new maintenance and rehabilitation provider for MRT3, which is targeted this June 2018," said the DOTr.

Transportation officials have yet to explain why the target for choosing a new MRT3 maintenance provider was moved by one month.

Back in December 2017, the DOTr had said it expects a new MRT3 maintenance provider by May, as it is already finalizing the terms of its loan agreement with JICA. 

Timeline, cost

Based on the minutes of discussion, the DOTr said it will take 31 months and P16.985 billion to restore the MRT3. Another 12 months has been set to address any problems or glitches that could arise – called a defect liability period. (READ: MRT3 delivers on its promise of more trains)

"[It will take] 31 months for the simultaneous rehabilitation and maintenance works to restore MRT3 to its original design condition and capacity, and 12 months for the defect liability period," the transportation department said.

It added that the project cost of ¥34.480 billion (P16.985 billion) will cover the MRT3's trains, power supply system, overhead catenary system, radio system, CCTV system, PABX public address system, signaling system, rail tracks, road rail vehicles, depot equipment, elevators and escalators, as well as other station building equipment.

Aside from funding, the DOTr had said it will utilize the bidding process of Japan in getting a new MRT3 maintenance provider.

"[This is] required in all official development assistance (ODA) arrangements with them," Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said last December.

Batan had said procurement rules and regulations will be observed in choosing the new MRT3 maintenance provider, noting that it will be Japanese like other projects of the DOTr with Japan.

Batan was sought for comment on the timeline of the bidding for the new MRT3 maintenance and rehabilitation provider, but he has not yet replied as of posting.

The MRT3 has been encountering numerous malfunctions in recent years due to substandard maintenance and underinvestment in system renewal requirements. (READ: TIMELINE: MRT3 mishaps– Rappler.com