THE Transportation department said it hopes to award in November the contract for the rolling stock package of the Metro Manila Subway Phase 1.

Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope O. Libiran told BusinessWorld by phone last week that the department has 30 days to review the technical bid and 15 days for the financial bid of the joint venture (JV) of Sumitomo Corp. and Japan Transport Engineering Co. (J-Trec).

The department targets to award the contract in November, Ms. Libiran added.

The contractor is to design, execute and complete 30 train sets consisting of eight electric multiple units or a total of 240 train cars, according to the department’s bid bulletin.

Only the J-Trec-Sumitomo JV submitted on Monday a bid proposal to provide train sets for the first phase of the subway project.

Originally scheduled for March 17, the submission of bids was postponed to July 27 due to the pandemic. Bids for the train sets should be submitted along with a 600-million-yen bid security with the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management in Manila.

The JV was awarded in July 2019 the contract for the rolling stock package of the North-South Commuter Railway Project (Malolos to Tutuban).

Sumitomo is one of the maintenance service providers of Metro Rail Transit Line 3, along with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering Ltd. and TES Philippines, Inc.

The Department invited Japanese firms in December to bid to supply train sets, as well as electrical and mechanical (E&M) systems and rail track works for the first phase of the subway project, a flagship project that is funded by Japan official development assistance.

The Transportation department said in February that Hitachi Ltd., Sumitomo, and Mitsubishi Corp. bought bid documents for the rolling stock package.

Sumitomo, Mitsubishi, Mitsui & Co. Ltd., and Marubeni Corp. also purchased bid documents for the contract to provide E&M systems and track works. Two Philippine-based firms — D.M. Consunji, Inc. and KDDI Philippines Corp. — likewise bought bid documents for this package.

The deadline for submission of bids for E&M and track works was initially set on March 24, with a bid security of 800 million yen. This was postponed to Aug. 17, according to a July 7 bid bulletin.

The Metro Manila Subway will have 17 stations: East Valenzuela, Quirino Highway, Tandang Sora, North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, East Avenue, Anonas, Katipunan, Ortigas, Shaw, Kalayaan Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Lawton, Senate, FTI, NAIA Terminal 3, and Bicutan.

The first phase covers the first three underground stations, tunnels and depot construction, depot equipment and buildings.

The government broke ground for the first three stations in February 2019 after the Transportation department signed a P51-billion deal with the Shimizu joint venture, which consists of Shimizu Corp., Fujita Corp., Takenaka Civil Engineering Co. Ltd., and EEI Corp. The department hopes to begin tunneling works this year.

The Philippines and Japan signed in March 2018 the first tranche of the P355.6-billion loan for the project.

Parts of the Japanese-supplied tunnel boring machines which will be used to excavate tunnels were unveiled in February.

While the public will have to wait until 2025 for full operations of the 17-station subway, the government is planning to launch partial operations, covering the first three stations by 2022. — Arjay L. Balinbin