DOTr denies rejecting offer to rehab MRT3 at cost cheaper by P10B

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday maintained that the planned rehabilitation of the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT3) remained on track and within budget amid allegations that it had passed up an offer to undertake the project at a cost lower by P10 billion.

In an interview, DOTr Communications Director Goddes Libiran said there was no offer from Sumitomo Corp., the original maintenance provider for MRT3, to undertake the rehabilitation for P7.5 billion.

Libiran was reacting to reports criticizing the department for allegedly choosing to fund the project using official development assistance from Japan. The reports alleged that Sumitomo, through the train line management MRT Corporation (MRTC), quoted only P7.5 billion for the work as early as 2015 and 2016, compared to the P17.1 billion assessment from Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).

No offers

The DOTr official said the Japan-based firm had made no such offer.

“We really don’t know where the P7.5 billion figure came from,” she said, adding that there were no other offers to fix the problem-plagued train line that was as comprehensive as the Jica proposal.

Rejecting insinuations that the DOTr was shortchanging the public, Libiran also stressed that the figures Jica presented were the result of the initial but thorough appraisal made from February to March this year.

In its assessment report, Jica pegged the costs for the rehabilitation project at around P11.6 billion, and P5.5 billion for the maintenance. This includes the complete overhaul of the transit line’s 72 cars within 26 months or by mid-2020.

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