“So now we will bring back Sumitomo. It will not be easy, convincing them to return because there will be issues on that. But having said that, because of the efforts of the Philippine government and the Japanese government, there was an agreement made for Sumitomo to come back,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.
Miguel de Guzman/File
Full rehabilitation of MRT-3 seen in 2-3 years
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - August 18, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is looking to fully rehabilitate the MRT-3 in two to three years as it looks to secure and finalize not later than September a deal to bring back former maintenance provider Sumitomo Corp.

“There have been long discussion as to who will maintain. What will happen is Sumitomo will come in. Sumitomo handled MRT-3 for 12 years. After 12 years, there came a moment in time when there were four or five that handled it in a short period. That caused the problem. That added to the problem,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said an interview with One News’ The Chiefs Thursday night.

“So now we will bring back Sumitomo. It will not be easy, convincing them to return because there will be issues on that. But having said that, because of the efforts of the Philippine government and the Japanese government, there was an agreement made for Sumitomo to come back,” he said.

Tugade said the target is to finalize the deal with Sumitomo and the Japanese government within this month or the middle of September at the latest.

He said works on the documents for the deal are now being made.

“Once that is done, we will repair the entire MRT-3, from coaches to rails, because even the rails have been neglected. We are targeting 32 to 34 months  to fix those,” Tugade said.

According to the DOTr, the objective is to rehabilitate all trains as soon as possible to restore MRT-3’s reliability and increase its capacity.

Based on initial discussion, the agency said the number of operating Czech trains can go down to as low as 12 sets at the peak of the rehabilitation program.

As designed, the 72 Czech trains are supposed to undergo general overhaul every eight years.

MRT-3 started operating in 2000 and the first round of general overhaul was completed by Sumitomo in 2008.

The second round of overhaul was supposed to have been completed in 2016, but with the termination of Busan Universal Rail Inc. in November 2017, only three of the 43 trains that was covered by its contract were overhauled.

Meanwhile, Tugade said works are continuing by a fact-finding team regarding the acquisition of trains by the previous administration from Chinese company CRRC Dalian Co. Ltd.

Last month, Tugade met with executives of CRRC Dalian to discuss results of the independent audit and assessment for MRT-3 and the 48 light rail vehicles (LRVs) conducted by TUV Rheinland.

Tugade said based on the independent audit, the Dalian trains can still be used if the adjustments identified in the audit are addressed.

Concerns were earlier raised with the 48 LRVs procured by the previous administration for P3.8 billion after they exceeded the weight prescribed in the terms of reference (49,700 kilograms vs. 46,300 kilograms).

The DOTr has said that details on how CRRC Dalian would make the adjustments identified in the audit is targeted to be finalized before a high-level government to government meeting between the Philippines and China in August 20.

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SUMITOMO CORP.
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