(Reposted from the Sept. 29 issue of the Business Times to include the AF Consortium statement issued late Friday, Oct 3, inserted as the 11th, 12th and 13th paragraphs)
The Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) group of companies is keen on expanding its partnership with a Spanish information technology (IT) company within the year.
Pangilinan, who chairs the companies under the MVP group, said the Spanish company, Indra Systemas SA, has an existing joint venture agreement with the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), but they plan to expand their partnership before the end of the year.
“We’re expanding that platform to cover Asia,” Pangilinan said, adding that the partnership mainly covers ”IT systems, cyber security, and defense related IT matters.”
”Well, of course, in the Philippines initially. Then Indonesia. We’re using a lot of their IT services in the hospitals, in Maynilad, in the Tollways, and in Meralco,” he said.
Pangilinan also said that the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite Extension Project has been awarded, and the company is now preparing for the Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS) Project.
Earlier, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) awarded to the joint venture of the Ayala and Metro Pacific groups the P1.72-billion AFCS Project for Metro Manila’s light rail system.
The AF Consortium of the Ayala Group and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) submitted a negative bid of P1.088 billion for the AFCS, besting by P103,900 the bid submitted by the SM Consortium of Henry Sy.
A negative bid means that the bidder is proposing to pay the government to undertake the project. The AFCS, a tap-and-go ticketing scheme for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) systems, is envisioned to improve passenger comfort and convenience by cutting queuing times and allowing seamless transfers from one rail line to another.
The AF Consortium was awarded the concession after it made the most advantageous offer to the transport agency. It proposed not only to undertake the modernization project, but also to make premium payments to the government in the amount of P1.088 billion.
In a letter to the Manila Times received at the weekend, the AF Consortium clarified that its consortium is composed only of the following firms: AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., BPI Card Finance Corp., Globe Telecom Inc., Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Meralco Financial Services Corp. and Smart Communications Inc.
“The AF Consortium has since been incorporated into AFCS, Inc., the vehicle meant to deliver the Automated Fare Collection System (AFCS), Public-Private Partnership project owned by the consortium members who are, in turn, now shareholders,” the letter said.
Moreover, the AF Consortium clarified in the letter that “it has not partnered with Indra Sytemas SA to jointly undertake any project.”
Under the concession agreement, the AFCS ticketing scheme will be fully integrated at the LRT and MRT systems by September 2015.
The winning bidder for the AFCS will also have the option to expand this contactless card system to other businesses in and out of the transportation sector, such as in retail transactions.
In the future, the system can be expanded to include other transport modes such as buses, toll roads and the Philippine National Railways.