Only MRT-3's operations, maintenance being considered for privatization — DOTr

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 9) —The Department of Transportation on Wednesday denied recent reports on the supposed privatization of the whole Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) system.

The agency clarified that it is only considering the possible privatization of the railway system's operations and maintenance.

"In response to news reports alleging that MRT-3 is up for sale, the Department of Transportation clarifies it is considering the possibility of turning over the Operations & Maintenance (O&M) of MRT-3 to qualified private sector operators towards improving its operational efficiency," the DOTr said in a statement.

The DOTr and the Metro Rail Transit Corporation Corp. signed a build-lease-transfer agreement in 1997 for the construction of the MRT-3 along EDSA. Under the scheme, the agency will handle the collection of fare, while the consortium is in charge of the maintenance of trains.

The agreement is set to expire in 2025.

The department pointed out that privatizing the operations and maintenance of MRT-3 will reduce operational cost to maintain affordable fares.

"We are looking at partnering with private rail operators for DOTr MRT-3’s operations and maintenance under the same scheme with LRT 1 with the rail lines assets remaining government-owned,” said DOTr chief Jaime Bautista.