C5 rail, MRT-11 projects pitched

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THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) has received unsolicited proposals for the development of two different rail systems in Metro Manila, its chief said on Wednesday.

At the General Membership Meeting of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista said the agency has received a proposal to build a Metro Rail Transit (MRT) line that runs between Monumento in Caloocan and San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, as well as an offer to build a railway along C5 Road between the cities of Pasay and Taguig.

“We are in the process of identifying other railway lines. There are four operating lines now, the next operating line will be MRT-7. There is an unsolicited proposal for MRT-11, which is from Monumento to San Jose del Monte. We are evaluating this unsolicited proposal…There is also a proposal to have an MRT along C5,” he said.

Refusing to name the private group that submitted the proposal for MRT-11, Bautista explained that the offer is essentially a build-operate-transfer [BOT] proposal that the agency hopes to evaluate “within the year.”

“There is an additional submission, I think this week,” he said.

Bautista added that the MRT-11 may be connected to the MRT-7, a railway line that will run between Quezon City and Bulacan.

“If the documents are complete, we will review it. And since it’s an unsolicited proposal, it will be subject to a Swiss Challenge,” he explained.

Bautista said the department “hopes” to issue the original proponent status by “next year.”

The proposal for the C5 Railway, meanwhile, he said involves the construction of a railway system that will run between Pasay and Taguig, running along the C5 Road.

“There’s a proposal, but it’s still not complete yet,” he said.

Project costs are “moving” parts, still, Bautista explained.

Other railway lines in the pipeline, he added, include another railway line in Cavite and an extension railway to Batangas, as well as train systems in Leyte, Panay Island, and Cebu.

“We are just completing the feasibility studies,” he said.

Meanwhile, the DOTr plans to privatize the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 2 and MRT-3 in two years. “We plan to privatize the operations of LRT-2 and MRT-3 in 2025. We have already engaged the ADB [Asian Development Bank] to help us identify who will be a good operator for LRT-2 and MRT-3. The MRT-3 is on an existing build-lease-transfer [BLT] with a private group and this will end in 2025 so when the BLT arrangement is finished, we can privatize the operations of LRT-2 and MRT-3. So that will be in 2025,” Bautista said.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) Chief Representative to the Philippines Sakamoto Takema said Japan is eager to help the Philippines build more railways. “Jica is very happy to support in some sort of selection. Metro Manila is having the same rush area as that of Tokyo, and yet there are only four railway lines. In Tokyo, I cannot count how many lines we have. The size area is just the same and the population of Metro Manila is 1.5x bigger than that of Tokyo, but still there are only four lines. That’s why Jica is very supportive of DOTr because we need more,” he said.