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DOTr mulls expanded role for Japanese group repairing MRT 3

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said it was possible for Japan-based firm Sumitomo to stay onboard as the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3’s maintenance service provider beyond the 43-month-long rehabilitation program for  the train line.

Transport Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan told reporters the DOTr was still studying whether Sumitomo could play a role in MRT 3’s “longer-term strategy” of operations and maintenance, even as it was considering Metro Pacific Investments Corp.’s (MPIC) unsolicited proposal to take over MRT 3 operations.

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“We are still reviewing (MPIC’s) proposal even amid ongoing legal issues that we still have to resolve,” Batan said, referring to the arbitration case with Metro Rail Transit Corp. filed in 2009.

On Tuesday, the DOTr officially handed over the system operations and maintenance documents for the MRT 3 maintenance to Japanese consortium Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries-TESP, kicking off the rehabilitation.

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The handover also marked Sumitomo’s official return as MRT 3 original maintenance provider after a series of short term maintenance providers, including BURI, took over from 2012 to 2017.

P20-B proposal

The MPIC had tried to bag the rehabilitation contract as part of a P20-billion proposal to repair, operate and maintain the MRT 3 for 30 years, with no fare hikes for at least two years.

The long-overdue project covers the entire 16.9-kilometer line, its 13 stations and Quezon City depot, and the original 72 light rail vehicles since the MRT 3 began operations in 1999.

It is partially funded by an P18-billion loan from Japan.

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TAGS: DoTr, Metro Pacific Investments Corp., MPIC, MRT 3, Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries-TESP, Timothy John Batan
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