By Arjay L. Balinbin
MORE Japanese and local companies have shown their interest in two contracts under the first phase of the Metro Manila Subway Project which will be bid out in mid-March.
BusinessWorld learned last week that as of Feb. 13, four Japanese firms, namely: Sumitomo Corp., Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsui & Co. Ltd., and Marubeni Corp., have purchased bidding documents for the contract to provide electrical and mechanical (E&M) systems and track works as part of the first phase of the Metro Manila Subway Project.
Two Philippine-based firms — construction giant D.M. Consunji, Inc. and KDDI Philippines Corp. — also bought bidding documents for the E&M systems and track works contract package.
The Transportation department said Hitachi Ltd., along with Sumitomo and Mitsubishi, bought bid documents “for the design, execution and completion of 30 train sets consisting of eight electric multiple units” or a total of 240 train cars.
Sumitomo is 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.
D.M. Consunji has been involved in various railway projects in the country, which include the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 North Extension, North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR), and LRT Line 2 East Extension with Marubeni.
Marubeni’s other projects in the country include the improvement and modernization of Commuter Line South Project and the first and second phases of the LRT-1 capacity expansion project.
The contracts for the E&M systems, track works and rolling stock for the Metro Manila subway will go through international competitive bidding in accordance with bidding procedures of the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Citing the Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP) of Japanese ODA Loans, the Transportation department said the primary contractor should be from Japan while sub-contractors can be from other countries.
“If the prime contractor is a joint venture, such joint venture will be eligible provided that the lead partner is Japan,” it added.
The subway is one of the administration’s flagship developments funded by Japan official development assistance (ODA).
According to a bulletin published in newspapers on Dec. 24, 2019, the DoTr said bids for the train sets should be submitted on March 17, 2020 along with a ¥600-million bid security at the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM-PS) in Manila.
For E&M systems and track works, the DoTr set a March 24, 2020 deadline for submission of bids, along with an ¥800-million bid security.
Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John R. Batan previously said the trains and electro-mechanical systems contracts will be awarded to the winning bidders “by the middle of this year.”
The first phase of the subway project covers three packages, namely: rolling stock; E&M system and track works; as well as the first three underground stations (Quirino Highway, Tandang Sora, North Avenue), tunnels and depot construction, depot equipment and buildings.
In March 2018, the Philippines and Japan signed the first tranche of the P355.6-billion loan for the subway project.
While the public will have to wait until 2025 for full operations of the 36-kilometer subway, the government targets partial operations — covering the first three stations — by 2021. The government broke ground for the first three stations in February 2019.
The completed subway system will have 15 stations between Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City. It will also link up with Metro Manila’s other railways at the common station being built along North Avenue in Quezon City.