| January 8, 2016

Nothing is improbable, especially when it comes to the Department of Transportation and Communication and the busy Metro Rail Transit Line 3—a situation that appears to be getting messier and messier.

It’s been a jam-packed start to 2016, and we’re not just referring to the uncomfortable daily commute that MRT-3 riders have to contend with.
Reports that the Filipino-Korean venture wanted out of a long-term contract to maintain the MRT-3 and calls for the resignation of Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya put new meaning to starting the year with a bang.

Apparently, the DOTC has fought off an embarrassing possible pullout after multi-day negotiations with the Korean-Filipino group of Busan Transportation Corp., Edison Development and Construction, Tramat Mercantile Inc., TMI Corp. Inc. and Castan Corp.
We heard a contract was signed late Thursday in a meeting that reporters were not allowed to witness.
That was also possible through the cooperation of others, including the German-Filipino joint venture Schunk Bahn-und Industrietechnik GmbH-Comm Builders and Technology Phils. Corp. or SBI-CB&T venture.

SBI-CB&T has a lot of issues with the leadership of the DOTC, from the non-payment of about P102 million in services and equipment delivered under its six-month maintenance contract to its controversial disqualification from the more crucial three-year MRT-3 maintenance contract late last year. (SBI-CB&T venture was disqualified for submitting its offer 43 minutes late, paving the way for the awarding of the deal to the Busan-led venture).
SBI-CB&T, along with other contractors, even agreed to a one-month extension of its services that expired on Jan. 4 this year. Despite its strictness with time, the DOTC was not ready to hand over the deal to the Busan group.
Roehl Bacar, the company’s authorized representative, told Biz Buzz that they had agreed to the extension to ensure the MRT-3’s smooth operations. The SBI-CB&T venture, after all, handled some of the most crucial maintenance and safety aspects of the MRT-3 that operates along Edsa.
All’s well that ends well? Let’s see. Miguel R. Camus