The Philippine Star | June 15, 2014

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is revising the terms of the P836.5-million contract to upgrade the ancillary systems of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) along EDSA to lure more bidders.

Michael Arthur Sagcal, DOTC spokesman, said the agency’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) is reviewing the technical specifications of the project in line with the P3.8 billion MRT-3 capacity expansion project involving the acquisition of 48 brand-new trains.

“The BAC is still revising the project’s technical specifications in response to inputs of bidders raised during the pre-bid conference,” Sagcal stressed.

DOTC undersecretary Rene Limcaoco has issued a general bid bulletin postponing indefinitely the June 11 deadline for the submission of bid proposals.

“In view of several technical issues raised during the pre-bid conference and in order to effect revisions and amendments in the bidding documents of the aforesaid project, the submission and opening of bids is hereby postponed until further notice,” Limcaoco stated in the bulletin.

In an invitation to bid, the DOTC said the project would cover the upgrade of traction power sub-station and depot facilities as well as the construction of North Ave. turnback and Taft pocket track extension.

To qualify, the DOTC said prospective bidders must have an experience of having completed at least one contract that is similar to the project and whose value adjusted to current prices must be at least 50 percent of the approved budget for contract.

The agency added that the bidding is restricted to Filipino citizens or sole proprietorships, partnerships or organizations with at least 75 percent interest owned by citizens of the Philippines.

Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock of China submitted a bid of P3.759 billion or P10 million lower than the indicative price of P3.769 billion for the MRT-3 capacity expansion project. Another Chinese firm, CSR Zhouzhou, was disqualified by the DOTC.

Under the expansion program, the government would acquire 48 new trains with the delivery to be completed a month before President Aquino steps down in 2016 to be able to use four-car trains that would arrive every 2.5 minutes during peak hours from the current system wherein three-car trains arrive every three minutes during peak hours.

The mass transit system along EDSA ferries close to 600,000 passengers a day or way above the design capacity of about 350,000 passengers.

Earlier, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the government saved no less than P3.35 billion after it decided to bid out and award the MRT-3 capacity expansion project to the Chinese firm.

Abaya issued the statement following suggestions that his agency should have awarded to the Inekon Group of Czech Republic the contract to supply the 48 coaches for MRT-3 through a negotiated bid.

Abaya said Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. of China won the bidding as it offered to supply 48 coaches for $1.8 million each or a total of $86.4 million for the 48 trains compared to Inekon’s price of $3.355 million for each coach, or a total of $174.46 million for 52 coaches or $160.8 million for 48 coaches.

Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar has accused a group led by MRT-3 general manager Al Vitangcol III of trying to extort $30 million from the Inekon Group. Vitangcol has been stripped of his duties as general manager of MRT-3.