MANILA – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is in the process of finalizing its government-to-government agreement with the Government of Japan (GOJ) for the rehabilitation and maintenance work on the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3).
In a radio interview, 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 MRT3, which has been encountering numerous malfunctions in recent years due to substandard maintenance and underinvestment in overdue system renewal requirements.
“Why Japan? Japan’s qualifications and experience in running railway systems is unrivaled. Tokyo alone has about 700 kilometers of railway systems, while we have only 80 kms. and that is including the PNR line,” Asec. Batan said.
“Also, there is our wide platform for cooperation, especially in rail projects. DOTr Secretary Arthur himself pushed for MRT3 to be included in this framework with Japan,” he added.
Asec. Batan noted that DOTr will be adhering to the bidding process of Japan for the MRT3 project, as required in all ODA arrangements with them, which means that the service provider will be Japanese just like other projects of DOTr with Japan.
The government is expecting to exchange Note Verbales with GOJ during 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 MRT3 from January to February to clearly identify the scope of the needed rehabilitation works.
“So the study will proceed in February, March, April. By May Japan commits to mobilize the service provider.”
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