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Gov’t, Mitsubishi-Sumitomo team to sign MRT 3 deal soon

/ 05:04 AM December 17, 2018

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is readying the signing of a contract that will pave the way for the return of the original Japanese maintenance providers in the busy Metro Rail Transit Line 3 in Metro Manila.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade told reporters last week that the target signing date was within the next two weeks, or before the end of 2018.

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With the Japanese group led by Sumitomo Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which handled the maintenance of MRT3 during the first 12 years of its operations, the DOTr hopes to restore the aging system back to its original design condition and capacity.

“It’s more or less agreed upon, the return of Sumitomo,” Tugade told reporters on the sidelines of the blessing of the new Maritime Industry Authority headquarters in the Manila port area.

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He said rehabilitation would cover all major aspects—its trains, signaling system and maintenance.

Last Nov. 7, the Philippine and Japanese governments signed an “exchange of notes” for the contract’s loan agreement.

According to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, the loan provision will amount to a maximum of 38.1 billion yen or about P18 billion.

The interest rate was set at 0.1 percent a year payable in 28 years after a grace period of 12 years.

The DOTr previously said the rehabilitation and maintenance contract would run for 43 months.

The MRT-3, which began operations in 1999, is a 17-kilometer system that traverses the busy Edsa road. It is one of Metro Manila’s three elevated trains, the two others being the Light Rail Transit Line 1 and the LRT-2.

The Sumitomo-Mitsubishi tandem was replaced in 2012, or two years into the previous Aquino administration, which mainly balked at the high maintenance fees.

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Experts believed the condition of the MRT-3 deteriorated faster when the Mitsubishi-Sumitomo contract was not renewed and the then Department of Transportation and Communications tapped other providers. This included Filipino-Korean venture Busan Universal Rail Inc., whose selection eventually led to the filing of graft charges against public officials from the previous administration.

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