THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) said on Wednesday that it has received unsolicited proposals for two commuter rail systems for Metro Manila, which it plans to evaluate within the year. 

“We are in the process of identifying other railway lines. There are four operating lines now, the next operating line will be MRT-7 (Metro Rail Transit Line-7),” Transport Secretary Jaime J. Bautista said on the sidelines of the General Membership Meeting of the Management Association of the Philippines.

The active commuter rail lines in Metro Manila are Light Rail Transit Lines 1 and 2, MRT-3, and the Philippine National Railway’s lines serving the capital.

Mr. Bautista said that the DoTr received proposals for MRT-11 and an MRT line along the C5 road. He did not disclose the proponents.

The unsolicited proposal for MRT-11 will run between Monumento in Caloocan and San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, while the line along C5 road will run from the airport to Taguig.

Mr. Bautista said the department hopes to evaluate the build-operate-transfer proposal for the MRT-11 project within the year, noting that it is waiting for additional submissions from the proponent, a domestic company, within the week.

“If the documents are complete, we will review it. And since it’s an unsolicited proposal, it will be subject to a Swiss Challenge,” he added.

The DoTr seeks to grant original proponent status for MRT-11 by 2024. It is waiting on the completion of the proposal for the railway line along C5 road.

Aside from these two railway lines, Mr. Bautista said that there are plans to add another line in Cavite, an extension railway to Batangas, and train systems in Leyte, Panay, and Cebu.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bautista said that the department is finalizing the feasibility studies for the Manila Bay, Pasig and Laguna de Bay Ferry System.

The ferry system is expected to operate along the Pasig River and on Laguna de Bay and is designed to mitigate road congestion in Metro Manila.

“This is part of the 71 projects of DoTr which were submitted to the National Economic and Development Authority. We hope we can implement this before the end of the term of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.,” Mr. Bautista said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile