Metro Pacific Investments Corp. said it is still interested in operating and maintaining Metro Rail Transit Line 3 despite the government’s decision to award the rehabilitation of the rail system to a Japanese company.
“It’s [the proposal] still there with the government. I’m glad [Transportation] Secretary [Arthur] Tugade has mandated Sumitomo [Corp.] to start the rehab work for MRT3 that’s much needed, its a big step,” said MPIC chairman Manuel Pangilinan.
“We will wait for their direction―whatever their intention is,” he said.
The Transportation Department in September 2017 granted the original proponent status to MPIC which submitted an unsolicited bid for the rehabilitation and O&M of MRT 3.
The consortium of MPIC and Ayala Corp. submitted an unsolicited proposal to DOTr to upgrade and rehabilitate MRT 3 for P12.5 billion.
The government, however, tapped Sumitomo Corp. to rehabilitate MRT 3 under an P18-billion loan agreement between the Philippines and Japan.
Under the deal, Sumitomo will be in charge of rehabilitation and maintenance of the system’s electromechanical components, power supply, rail tracks and depot equipment until 2022. It will also overhaul the system’s 72 18-year-old light rail vehicles.
The consortium is also looking at buying out the stake of the government and private investors in MRT 3.
The government through Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines own a combined 80-percent economic interest in MRT 3 while the balance is held by creditors of Metro Rail Transit Corp.
MPIC in 2011 offered to buy out Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines in MRT 3 for $1.1 billion.
MRT 3 which runs along Edsa from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City serves more than 500,000 passengers a day, beyond its rated capacity of 350,000.
The line has a fleet of 73 Czech-made air-conditioned rail cars.