THE NATIONAL Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said it would prefer a solicited proposal for the privatization of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) with Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2)
“We’ll see the pros and cons of the proposal. But of course, we prefer solicited versus unsolicited, because with solicited you tend to get better chances of getting a good winner. You really don’t know what’s a good proposal until you see all the proposals on the table. You miss that when it is unsolicited,” NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan told reporters on the sidelines of an event over the weekend.
“I think our direction is to get the operations and maintenance (O&M) done by the private sector. So, we are studying that,” he added.
Earlier this year, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said it was studying the privatization of the O&M of the MRT-3 and LRT-2. It was considering putting the contract in a bundled option.
This comes ahead of the expiry of the Sobrepeña-led MRT-3 operator Metro Rail Transit Corp.’s (MRTC) build, lease and transfer agreement in 2025.
MRT-3 is a 16.9-kilometer railway system that traverses Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA). The MRT-3 trains can carry 23,000 passengers per hour per direction daily.
Meanwhile, LRT-2 links the City of Manila to eastern Metro Manila.
Mr. Balisacan clarified that the DoTr has yet to submit a proposal to the NEDA Board as its studies are still ongoing.
“First, they would have to present their proposal to NEDA so we can also study it. That’s the DoTr, and then we will present it to the NEDA Board or NEDA secretariat,” he added.
In September, the DoTr said it was consulting with the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center on how to handle multiple unsolicited proposals after receiving a second bid for the O&M of MRT-3 from Metro Pacific Investments Corp.
Last year, San Miguel Corp. was declared the original proponent for the contract.
The DoTr also earlier said it is working with the Asian Development Bank and International Finance Corp. on the terms of reference for the proposals. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson