By Jovee Marie de la Cruz | Business Mirror | September 15, 2015

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has invited four foreign companies to participate in the bidding for the maintenance contract of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3).

 MRT 3 General Manager Roman Buenafe, during the budget deliberations of the DOTC at the House of Representatives, said the DOTC has invited the Hamburg Metro of Germany, Singapore MRT (SMRT) and Busan Rail and Korail of South Korea to participate in the bidding of P4.3-billion three-year maintenance contract of the MRT 3.

According to Buenafe, all three foreign companies have local partners for the bidding of contract except SMRT.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya said that by naming these foreign companies “is proof that there is nothing secret about the bidding for the MRT 3’s maintenance contract.”

“The bidding is not confidential. Maybe there was someone misquoted or there was a wrong interpretation of the procurement law, but there’s nothing secret about this,” he said, reacting to reports of an alleged secret bidding for the MRT 3 contract.

Abaya, who is the acting president of the ruling Liberal Party, also denied allegations that his agency will award the MRT 3 contract to a member of the ruling political party

“All contracts in DOTC are aboveboard, regular. We maintain clear that its awarding of contract to an ally is also part of the imagination,” he said.

Penalty payment

Meanwhile, in the same hearing, Abaya also denied that the DOTC is planning to give “penalty payment” of P7.5 billion to the consortium of Ayala Land Inc. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. for unfulfilled obligations under a concession agreement for the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT 1) Cavite Extension project.

Earlier Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), citing the unsigned letter of Abaya to Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad, said the government will have to compensate the consortium of Ayala Land Inc. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

The P7.5-billion planned “penalty payment” supposedly includes P5.41 billion for the alleged failure of the government to comply with obligations relating to the operation and maintenance of the existing LRT 1 system and P106.67 million for failure to increase the minimum fare.

In the said letter dated on August 7, Abaya told Abad that the DOTC will likely fail to meet certain obligations under the concession agreement.

But according to Abaya he did not sign the letter, saying that the DOTC will have to pay the unfulfilled commitments which shall be sourced from the 2015 P30-billion Risk Management Program Fund.

Abaya, however, admitted the failure of the government to fulfill its obligation to provide 100 Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) to the LRT consortium.

Under the concession agreement, the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) has to turnover 100 operational LRVs to the consortium which assumed the operation of the LRT 1. The LRTA said it only handed over 78 operational LRVs.

Earlier President Aquino has confirmed that private concessionaires of the project are demanding P7.5 billion in compensation from the government.

Abaya, however, said President Aquino has not been briefed on the daily updates on the LRT 1 extension project because he has been preoccupied in managing other affairs.