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Deadline to submit bids for P171-B rail deal moved

/ 12:57 AM October 12, 2015

THE GOVERNMENT is likely to extend the deadline for submission of bids for its biggest public private partnership deal thus far, the South Line of the North South Railway Project, to give interested groups more time, a government official said.

The P171-billion project, which aims to revive commuter rail operations in Luzon, including a long-haul line from Manila to Legazpi City, Albay, has formally lured two interested groups so far.

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These are San Miguel Corp. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp., led by businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan.

Metro Pacific has sought an extension to the Oct. 15, 2015 deadline for submission of pre-qualification documents, PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao said.

“It [deadline] will mostly likely be postponed,” Canilao noted.

Canilao noted that apart from Metro Pacific, other groups that have yet to buy bid documents have requested more time.

The qualification process is meant to determine which groups can participate in the actual bidding process.

It was not immediately certain how much time the government was willing to give bidders.

The Department of Transportation and Communication is also working on a tight schedule since it aims to award the PPP project before President Aquino steps down from office in the middle of 2016.

Based on its instruction to bidders, the DOTC said it planned to award the project by April 27, 2016.

The massive deal, which involves 653 kilometers of railway lines, is still luring interested parties.

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John Francia, Ayala Corp. managing director, confirmed that the conglomerate had yet to buy bid documents but he indicated that the company remained keen on the deal.

“A number of potential bidders have asked for an extension so we hope this will be granted,” Francia said.

Raoul Eduardo Romulo, chief financial officer and treasury head of San Miguel Holdings Corp., said SMC would be ready with its requirements.

“We will abide by whatever deadline is imposed on the project,” Romulo said.

The winning bidder will operate, maintain, and upgrade the South Line for 34 years, including the construction period of four years, meaning the railway line will be operational by 2020.

Upon full operations, the DOTC said there would be 10 daily trips with seven train sets passing through 66 stations.

It is expected to yield a demand of 316,000 passengers per day on its opening year, and is projected to entice around 44,000 public and private vehicle users to shift their commutes to the modernized railway.

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TAGS: bid, bidding, Business, deadline, funds, North South Railway Project, operations, partnership, public private, rail, South Line, submission, train
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