$1.4 Billion USD (₱60 Billion PHP) LRT 1 Extension Push through in spite of China-Railway linked protest

Ecorail Transport Services Inc. - businessman Reghis Romero II tied up with China Railway Construction Corporation disqualified the bidding for late submission filed a case in the Supreme Court to stop the bidding.

DOTC to proceed with LRT 1 Ext bidding

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is set to push through with the bidding of the proposed 60 billion project extending the Light Rail Transit line 1 (LRT 1) all the way to Bacoor in Cavite from Baclaran in Pasay City despite a law suit filed by a disqualified bidder.

DOTC Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla said in a text message that the agency would pursue the largest infrastructure project under the Aquino administration despite the case filed by Ecorail Transport Services Inc. of businessman Reghis Romero II before the Supreme Court seeking to stop the bidding process.

"The DOTC stands by its decision to bid out the project and believes that there is no legal basis for the suit," Lotilla stressed.

Ecorail, which was disqualified by the DOTC during the pre-qualification process, filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus, with application for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) and writ of preliminary injunction against the DOTC and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) before the High Tribunal to stop the bidding process.

Ecorail specifically named Rene Limcaoco, who is the DOTC undersecretary for planning and vice-chairman of the Special Bids and Awards Committee, as a respondent in the suit.

In a five-page urgent motion for the issuance of a TRO, Ecorail asked the Supreme Court to enjoin the DOTC and LRTA from proceeding with the bidding process of the LRT Line 1 South Extension Project.

Ecorail has tied up with China Railway Construction Corp. in submitting a proposal to the DOTC to undertake the entire 60 billion project, including the 30 billion acquisition of trains as well as the 30 billion civil works, claiming it has enough funds to undertake the entire project.

Under its proposed joint venture, Ecorail said the participation of the government would be to provide the land for the project. In return, the government would get a share in fare revenues.

The company claimed in its petition that the DOTC issued a General Bid Bulletin calling interested parties to submit their bid proposals for the project while negotiations between Ecorail and the DOTC were on-going.

For his part, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya lamented Ecorail's move to file a case before the Supreme Court after failing to prequalify for the project because of late submission.

"It is quite unfortunate that Ecorail had to go up to the Supreme Court. They actually participated in the bid but did not prequalify," Abaya said in a text message.

Last November, the DOTC's special bids and awards committee cleared the participation of the Light Rail Manila Consortium, MTD-Samsung Group, San Miguel Infrastructure Resources Inc., and DMCI Holdings Inc. after beating the Oct. 22 deadline.

The Light Rail Manila consortium is led by First Pacific's Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) with 33 percent, followed by diversified conglomerate Ayala Corp., while the MTD-Samsung group is composed of MTD Capital Bhd. and Samsung C&T Corp.

Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp., through San Miguel Infra Resources Inc., lead the group composed of GS Engineering and Construction Corp. and POSCO Engineering and Construction Co Ltd, while DMCI has tied up with Marubeni Corp. and Sistema Tranporte Collectivo Metrorey.

Of the total project cost, the government is spending P30 billion for the acquisition of 39 new light rail vehicles (LRVs) for the project through an official development assistance (ODA) loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

With report from philSTAR

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