DOTC sees need for long-term maintenance provider to address MRT-3 core problems

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A LONG-TERM total maintenance provider is needed to handle the general overhaul of existing train coaches and replacement of the system’s signaling system to address the core problems of obsolescence and excessive wear-and-tear of the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) system, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said on Wednesday.

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Because of this, the DOTC has opted to pursue emergency procurement for a long-term maintenance contractor pursuant to Republic Act 9184 for the MRT-3 system.

“We were given the go-signal by the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) to pursue this mode of negotiated procurement,” DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said.
“We’re targeting to award the contract within the year, and to have the new maintenance provider begin its services in January next year,” he added.

The GPPB unanimously approved the DOTC’s request to resort to a negotiated mode of procurement on August 20, pursuant to Section 53.2 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Procurement Law. This was in recognition of the urgent need to address the railway’s maintenance requirements.

MRT-3 upgrade
Government has already stepped in to upgrade the MRT-3 facilities due to the failure of the Sobrepena-controlled private owner to add coaches when they became due a decade ago.

The private owner has also failed to conduct proper train overhauling, replace rail tracks, and upgrade the signaling system, among other requirements, according to the DOTC.

Due to the urgent need for maintenance, the DOTC resorted to the current six-month multi-discipline approach, wherein different maintenance contractors have been engaged for each of the seven components of the railway line. This took place after the department’s two previous attempts to bid the three-year maintenance contract in October 2014 and January 2015 both failed.

Under the multi-discipline approach, the MRT-3 management has been able to increase the number of operating coaches during peak hours to 45 as of the beginning of August, and aims to bring it back up to 60 by November.

The new long-term maintenance provider will take over from these seven multi-discipline contractors when their services expire in January.

In accordance with the GPPB-approved plan, the DOTC has invited several established, well-reputed international expert groups in the railway maintenance industry. This will effectively eliminate the possibility of non- or under-qualified firms from participating in the bid and eventually winning the contract.

As the ordinary procedures for a competitive bid are being observed, the DOTC may disclose the names of these participating groups once an award has been made, and will post such notice on the DOTC and PhilGEPS websites at that time in accordance with Sections 54.3 and 54.5 of the said Procurement Law IRR. The rules also provide that bid securities are not required for negotiated procurement activities.

The Department of Justice and the National Economic Development Authority have also approved this negotiated mode of procurement for a long-term maintenance contract.

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