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Govt reviewing MRT buyout

The Department of Transportation and Communications said it is reviewing the previous government’s plan to buy out the private investors of Metro Rail Transit Line 3 as well as the new proposal of Metro Pacific Investments Corp.. to expand and operate the system. 

“We are studying it and I promise that there would be less analysis. We will make a decision that would benefit the majority,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade told reporters. 

Former President Benigno Aquino III issued Executive Order No. 126 in 2013, directing the Transportation and Finance Departments to buy MRTC out of MRT 3, under the build-lease-transfer agreement.

The planned buyout of the private investors aimed to wind down the 15 percent equity rental that the government is paying under the contract. 

The Transportation Department under the Aquino administration earlier estimated that the MRT3 buyout would cost the government over P40 billion. 

Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines own a combined economic interest in MRT 3, while creditors of Metro Rail Transit Corp.  hold the balance.

Metro Pacific earlier said it submitted a new proposal to Tugade to expand and maintain the MRT 3. 

Metro Pacific first submitted a proposal to the Transportation Department in 2011, offering $523 in million investments to rehabilitate and upgrade MRT-3.  The Aquino administration rejected Metro Pacific’s  proposal and opted for an equity value buyout of MRT 3. 

Metro Pacific signed a cooperation agreement in 2011 with several groups holding rights and interests in MRT 3, including MRTC, Metro Rail Transit Holdings Inc., Metro Rail Transit 2 Inc. and Monumento Rail Transit Corp., giving the First Pacific unit an option to acquire 48 percent. It did not exercise the option.

Metro Pacific chairman Manuel Pangilinan earlier said the company could exercise the option to acquire a substantial stake in Metro Rail Transit Corp. led by businessman Robert John Sobrepeña, once the government approved the proposal to expand the MRT 3 system.

MRT 3, which runs along Edsa from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City, serves 500,000 passengers a day, way beyond its rated capacity of 350,000.

The line has a fleet of 73 Czech-made air-conditioned rail cars.

Topics: Department of Transportation and Communications , DoTC , Metro Rail Transit Line 3 , MRT buyout , Metro Pacific Investments Corp.
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