Business World, 15 January 2013
By Cliff Harvey C. Venzon

AT LEAST 22 groups have formally signified their interest in a public-private partnership (PPP) project to build a P1.72-billion automated fare collection system (AFCS) for Metro Manila’s light railways, a cabinet official yesterday said.

“Twenty-two companies have purchased the bidding documents,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya told reporters yesterday. PPP Executive Director Cosette V. Canilao said several companies, including banks and telecommunication firms, had indicated their interest during the pre-bid conference last month.

Easytrip Service Corp., the electronic toll payment facility provider of North Luzon Expressway and G-Exchnage, Inc., the mobile commerce arm of Globe Telecom, Inc., last year said they would bid for the project.

The transportation department last month said submission of pre-qualification documents for project would be on Feb. 14 while pre-qualified bidders will be known on March 6.

Pre-qualified bidders will be asked to submit their technical and financial proposals on June 14.

Technical proposals will be opened on June 17 while opening of financial proposals will be on July 5, a bidding memorandum said.

Only those bidders who passed the first stage of evaluation shall be allowed to submit financial proposals, the agency said.

Notice of award of the contract will be on July 30.

The start of train operations using the new fare collection system is expected in 2015, Ms. Canilao last month said.

The project involved a 10-year contract to “finance, design, construct, operate, and maintain a “contact-less” automatic fare collection system” for Light Rail Transit Lines 1 and 2 and Metro Rail Transit Line 3,” according to the previously published bidding invitation.

The AFCS could be expanded to other transport systems “such as buses toll roads, among others,” the invitation also said.

So far, two PPP projects have been awarded since the government unveiled its flagship infrastructure program in 2010.

The P1.96-billion Daang Hari-Southern Luzon Expressway link was given to Ayala Corp. last December. The second is the P16.42-billion School Infrastructure Project Phase I, which was won in September by the BF Corp.-Riverbanks Development Corp. and Citicore Investments Holdings, Inc.-Megawide Construction Corp. consortium. Including the first phase of the school infrastructure project and AFCS, the government rolled out a total of eight PPP projects last year namely: the P15.86-billion Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway 2; P60-billion Light Rail Transit-1 Cavite extension; P5.6-billion Orthopedic Center rehabilitation; the P1.16-billion rehabilitation of Angat power plant’s two turbines; the P13.14-billion second phase of School Infrastructure project, and the P17.5-billion expansion of Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

The projects, which have yet to be awarded, are still in the pre-bidding stages.