THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) said it is looking to bid out the rehabilitation and maintenance of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) by year’s end, despite an unsolicited proposal from Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).
Gagawin kong hindi unsolicited yun. Gagawin kong solicited proposal. Para yung package ko lock, stock and barrel. Pati yung issue of equity and loans, kasama na sa bagahe [I will make that not unsolicited. I will make it a solicited proposal. So the package will be lock, stock and barrel. Even the issue of equity and loans will be part of the package],” Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade told reporters on when asked for an update on MPIC’s proposal.
While he refused to confirm if MPIC’s P20-billion proposal to rehabilitate and take over the MRT-3 has been rejected, Mr. Tugade said the government wants to change its plans for MRT-3.
Hindi naman ni-reject. Sinasabi lang natin baguhin natin, gawin nating solicited [It’s not that it was rejected. I’m just saying let’s change it, make it solicited],” Mr. Tugade said.
MPIC had proposed to operate the MRT-3 with the Ayala Group and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd. over a 30- to 32-year period. Metro Pacific Light Rail Corp., Ayala’s AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp. and Macquarie currently manage Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) as Light Rail Manila Corp.
MPIC was given original proponent status by the DoTr in November last year, but there have been no developments since it was forwarded to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for further evaluation.
Aside from the MPIC proposal, the government has also said it was in talks with the Japanese government to get Sumitomo Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (Sumitomo-MHI) take over the operations of the MRT-3.
But Mr. Tugade said earlier this month issues on the 48 unused trains procured from Chinese manufacturer CRRC Dalian Co. is keeping the Philippines and Japan from inking a deal for Sumitomo-MHI’s entry.
In late 2017, the DoTr ended its deal with former MRT-3 maintenance provider Busan Universal Rail, Inc. (BURI) after a series of train breakdowns.
MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd. MPIC’s other units are Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Denise A. Valdez