MANILA – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said the Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) will likely be granted the original proponent status for the takeover and rehabilitation of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3.
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said the firm’s proposal on the rehabilitation, operations and maintenance of the MRT will be submitted to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) for approval.
“There will be discussion and agreement, then it will be submitted to NEDA. If the NEDA and the President approve it, there will be a Swiss Challenge,” Tugade said in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of an event last week.
The Swiss challenge procurement mode provides an opportunity for companies to make competing offers while giving the original proponent a chance to match them.
The Transportation chief further said MPIC’s offer has provided the department a platform to explore possibilities including privatization to address the issues in MRT-3.
The consortium of MPIC and Ayala Corporation has recently submitted its proposal to the DOTr which would involve an investment of P12 billion to rehabilitate the train systems of the MRT and take over its operations for a period of 32 years.
The consortium is likewise eyeing to buy out the government’s stake in the railway system held by the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines as well as other shareholders.
Should it be granted original proponent status and hurdle the Swiss challenge, it expects to take over the MRT operations by early next year.
The rehabilitation, operations and maintenance would be pursued through a separate special purpose vehicle similar to the Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC).
LRMC, which operates the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) and is responsible for the extension of the train system all the way to Cavite, is composed of MPIC’s Metro Pacific Light Rail Corp., Ayala Corp.’s AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) PTE Ltd.