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Sunday, May 26, 2024

San Miguel, Metro Pacific competing to take over MRT-3 operations — DOTr

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Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and San Miguel Corp. are competing for the right to take over the operations and maintenance (O&M) of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3, according to an official of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

DOTr Undersecretary for planning and project Timothy John Batan said the agency received a new proposal from MPIC for MRT3 operations, but said San Miguel has an original proponent status (OPS) for the line system that was awarded by the Duterte administration in early 2022.

An OPS gives a company a competitive advantage to competitors during the competitive Swiss Challenge for the project.

Batan said the DOTr was coordinating with the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Center on how to properly address the two offers.

“There are rules on how to handle multiple unsolicited proposals. We are just confirming with the PPP Center for proper disposition,” he said.

“We’re just making sure that we address it in accordance with the rules. By next week, we will finalize our way forward,” Batan said.

He said San Miguel’s unsolicited offer for MRT was not yet endorsed to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

MPIC, through unit Light Rail Manila Corp., operates LRT Line 1, while San Miguel is building MRT Line 7 which would eventually connect to MRT-3.

Batan said while the government was evaluating the two unsolicited proposals, the agency planned to engage the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and International Finance Corp. (IFC) for the solicited bidding of MRT-3 and LRT Line 2 as a bundle.

“We will process solicited bids for MRT-3 and LRT-2 as if there were no unsolicited proposals, and we will process the unsolicited proposals as if there were no solicited bids,” he said.

Batan said the solicited and unsolicited proposals would be elevated for NEDA board for approval. The DOTr will pursue the NEDA-approved mode, he said.

The build-lease-transfer (BLT) agreement between the government and Metro Rail Transit Corp. for MRT-3 would lapse by 2025.

The government operates MRT-3, while MRTC, owned by Metro Rail Transit Holdings II Inc. led by businessman Robert John Sobrepeña, is responsible for the design and construction of the EDSA rail transit system.

Formed in 1995, MRTC started building MRT-3 in October 1996, completed it in December 1999 and started full operations in July 2020.

The MRTC and the government signed the BLT agreement in 1997 to construct and maintain MRT-3.

MRTC financed the construction of the modern rail system stretching along EDSA’s 10.5-meter median from North Ave. in Quezon City to Taft Ave. in Pasay City. The company infused P4.49 billion worth of equity into the project.

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