MANILA, Philippines - Firms interested in the 2 railway systems in the Metro are expected to join forces and create consortiums after the government ruled that only those experienced in electric rail systems can participate in the auction.
Some 45 firms submitted their letters of interest to bid for the operation and management (O&M) of Light Rail Transit (LRT) 1 and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3. They have paid the corresponding participation fee of P10,000, making them eligible to purchase bid documents from April 27 to May 4.
However, not all 45 firms are experts in running electric mass rail systems.
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said that an eligible bidder must have completed at least one similar project, or is currently engaged in one, worth at least P7 billion in order to advance to the next step of the bidding rules.
"Monorail experience and other non-rail based systems will not qualify. Only electrified mass rail systems will qualify. We want serious bidders," noted DOTC Undersecretary Ruben Reinoso Jr., who is also the chairman of the Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) of the agency.
"Any of the 45 firms who wishes to partner with a foreign or local firm that did not participate in the submission of expression of interest can still procure bid documents. They can even form a consortium as long as one of them participated in the submission of expression of interest and paid the P10,000 fee," Reinoso added.
The submission and opening of bids is slated on July 11. Those who will participate will have to pay a non-refundable fee of P500,000. They are also required to submit audited financial statements which are duly stamped "received" by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
Those entities with pending issues with the DOTC or any of its attached agencies are not qualified to join the bidding. Conflicts of interest among bidders shall not be allowed.
The DOTC is setting aside an approved budget of P14 billion for the O&M of LRT 1 and MRT 3. The budget already includes taxes, power cost, utilities, insurance, among others.
The project involves outsourcing of the O&M of Line 1 and Line 3, which will be auctioned as a single contract. As both lines are currently independent of each other, the proposed contract will be for a period of 4 years, extendible by another year, in preparation for the integration of the 2 lines and turnover to winning bidder.
After the O&M period, the LRT line 1 Cavite (South) extension project contractor is expected to assume overall responsibility for the integrated LRT line 1 and line 3 systems, said Reinoso.
"At the end of the year, the DOTC will go to the market to bid the south extension project. Whoever wins will also operate the integrated lines 1 and 3 but this will be after the O&M period. This is geared towards an integrated system," added the DOTC official.
Among the 45 firms that have expressed their interest to participate are corporate giants Metro Pacific Investment Corp., Ayala Corp., San Miguel Corp., and First Philippine Holdings Corp.