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Saturday, December 30, 2017

DOTr Now Finalizing Govt to Govt Accord for MRT-3



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The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is now finalizing its government to government agreement with the Government of Japan (GOJ) for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3).

In a recent interview with a morning program, DOTr Assistant Secretary for Railways TJ Batan said that DOTr is now in the final stages of exchanging Note Verbales between the Government of the Philippines (GOP) through the Department of Foreign Affairs, and GOJ through the Japan Embassy in Manila.

Asec. Batan said that the arrangement will involve the grant of an Official Development Assistance (ODA) for the rehabilitation and maintenance requirements of MRT-3, which has been encountering numerous malfunctions in recent years due to substandard maintenance and underinvestment in overdue system renewal requirements.

“Bakit Japan? Number one, alam naman natin yung qualifications at experience ng Japan in running railway systems. For example, yung Tokyo pa lang na halos kasing laki ng Metro Manila, has 700-km. of operating metro railway systems, while yung atin is a total of almost 80-km. kasama na PNR,” Asec. Batan said.

“Number two, nandyan na yung napakalawak nating platform for cooperation. Napakadami nating proyekto sa riles at sa ibang sektor na ginagawa kasama ang Japan. Actually si Secretary (Arthur) Tugade mismo ang nagtulak na maisama na ang pagsasa-ayos ng MRT-3 dun sa iba pang mga proyektong ginagawa na natin kasama ang Japan,” he added.

Asec. Batan likewise noted that the DOTr shall utilize the bidding process of Japan in getting the rehabilitation and maintenance service provider for MRT-3, as required in all ODA arrangements with them. He emphasized that procurement rules and regulations will be observed in choosing the service provider, noting that the provider will be Japanese like other projects of DOTr with Japan.

Further, Asec. Batan said the GOP is expecting to exchange Note Verbales with GOJ in the first week of January 2018, as the New Year holiday in Japan starts earlier than in the Philippines.

After the exchange, the DOTr and railway engineers from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will conduct a due diligence study of MRT-3 from January to February next year to clearly identify the needed rehabilitation works.

“So in February, March, April, gagawin ang study, aalamin natin kung anong kailangan gawin at magkano, tapos kukuha tayo ng mga approvals from both Philippine and Japan governments, at finally ang pagpili ng magiging service provider ayon sa mga panuntunan ng Japan. Pagdating ng May, ang commitment sa atin ng Japan ay ready to mobilize na ang ating service provider. And this is the reason kung bakit from the very beginning sinasabi natin yung Maintenance Transition Team (MTT) natin ay talagang nakatakda lamang na mag operate for three to six months,” Asec. Batan said.

The procurement of a rehabilitation and maintenance service provider for MRT-3 is Part 3 of DOTr’s 4-Part Strategy for fixing MRT-3:

Part 1: promoting accountability with the termination of BURI

Part 2: ensuring continued service delivery by establishing the MTT and purchasing needed spare parts

Part 3: contracting a rehabilitation and maintenance service provider together with an Official Development Assistance partner

Part 4: putting in place a long-term, single-point-of-responsibility, operator and maintenance provider for MRT-3

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