By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

ONLY the joint venture of Sumitomo Corp. and Japan Transport Engineering Co. (J-Trec) submitted on Monday a bid proposal to provide train sets for the Metro Manila Subway Project Phase 1, the Transportation department said.

“One JV submitted bid: J-Trec and Sumitomo Corp.,” Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope O. Libiran said in a phone message to BusinessWorld, speaking for Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John R. Batan.

To recall, the J-Trec-Sumitomo JV was awarded in July last year the contract for the rolling stock package of the North-South Commuter Railway Project (Malolos to Tutuban) in the total amount of P739.48 million and ¥23.84 billion, according to a copy of the notice of award posted on the official website of the Department of Transportation (DoTr).

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

The submission of bids for the train sets was initially scheduled for March 17 but was moved to July 27 amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Bids for the train sets should be submitted along with a ¥600-million bid security at the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM-PS) in Manila.

The DoTr announced in December last year its invitation to Japanese firms and Japanese-led joint ventures to bid to provide train sets, as well as electrical and mechanical (E&M) systems and rail track works as part of the first phase of the Metro Manila Subway Project, one of the current administration’s flagship developments funded by Japan official development assistance (ODA).

The department sought bids from Japanese firms “for the design, execution and completion of 30 train sets consisting of eight electric multiple units” or a total of 240 train cars.

In February, the department said Hitachi Ltd., Sumitomo, and Mitsubishi Corp. bought bid documents for the rolling stock package of the project.

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

The deadline for submission of bids for E&M and track works was originally set on March 24, with an ¥800-million bid security. It was moved to Aug. 17, according to a bid bulletin published on July 7.

The subway will have 17 stations, namely: 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 last year 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 Philippines and Japan signed in March 2018 the first tranche of the P355.6-billion loan for the project.

Based on the special terms for economic partnership of Japanese ODA loans, the primary contractor should be from Japan, while subcontractors can be from other countries.

The government unveiled in February parts of the Japanese-supplied tunnel boring machines which will be used to build the country’s first subway line.

The Transportation department targets to begin tunneling works within the year.

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