The Philippine National Railways (PNR) canceled its P921 million contract with Chinese firm CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co., Ltd. for the acquisition of new trains after the Commission on Audit (COA) questioned its procurement and plans to conduct a re-bidding.
“The PNR Board decided to cancel the contract. We are in cancellation proceedings with CRRC Zhuzhou,” Junn Magno, general manager of PNR confirmed in yesterday’s (February 24) virtual presscon.
“We will rebid the project. We are in the pre-procurement process,” he added, without providing further details.
COA questioned PNR’s procurement of train sets (standard gauge Diesel Multiple Unit or DMU) worth P921 million from CRRC Zhuzhou in its 2019 annual audit report.
CCR Zhuzhou failed to submit post-qualification bidding requirements, which should have disqualified it from winning the bid, the state auditor pointed out.
However, PNR declared CRRC Zhuzhou as the winning bidder on October 23, 2019.
The procurement consists of three train sets in three-car formations.
The train sets, scheduled for delivery this June, will initially be deployed for long haul service, from Calamba, Laguna to Naga City, Camarines Sur and eventually to Legazpi City, Albay.
The DMU trains will feature business class, first-class, and second class accommodations.
The trains can accommodate 168 passengers with 36 seats for business class, 52 seats for first class, and 80 seats for second class.
Before, PNR used to cover 479 kilometers of tracks from Manila to Bicol but stopped servicing the route in 2014 because of the right-of-way issues plus lack of trains.
At present, PNR’s metro line runs from Tutuban, Manila to Los Banos, Laguna.
On top of the P921 million contract with CRRC Zhuzhou, COA also questioned the state railway’s P44.5 million contract for the retrofitting of piers and abutments of various bridges (Naga Division); P40 million procurement of Computerized Maintenance Management System and the P31 million supply and delivery of rail wood sleepers.