By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter

THE Transportation department said two of the three short-listed Chinese consultants for the consultancy contract for the Tagum-Davao-Digos segment of the Mindanao Railway Project are compliant with its terms of reference.

“All three submitted on time, but one appeared to fail in one of the requirements indicated in the terms of reference,” Transportation Assistant Secretary Eymard D. Eje, who handles the Mindanao cluster project implementation and special concerns, said in a phone message on Sunday.

He said the secretariat has yet to formally inform all parties, and the company that has failed in one of the requirements can still file a request for reconsideration.

The three short-listed Chinese groups that submitted bids are: China Railways Design Corp. and Guangzhou Wanan Construction Supervision Co., Ltd. Consortium; China Railway Liuyuan Group Co., Ltd.; and CCCC Railway Consultants Group Co., Ltd.

The Transportation department has said the approved budget for the consultancy contract is P3.09 billion.

Detailed design and works must be completed within 17 months, with 33 months set as the period for the contractor to be engaged in pre-construction activities and the defects notification period, the department said in a recent announcement.

The railway project, one of the Duterte administration’s priority infrastructure projects, was originally scheduled to start construction in January 2019, but right of way issues, mainly in Davao City, held back the timetable.

The P82.9-billion railway’s first phase, covering the 100.2-kilometer Tagum-Davao-Digos segment, is financed through an official development assistance package from the Chinese government.