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By Daphne J. Magturo, Reporter

MRT-7 set for construction phase

Posted on February 17, 2016

AFTER a seven-year delay, San Miguel Corp. said it is “ready” to start building tomorrow the P69.3-billion Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 7 that will connect Quezon City to San Jose, Bulacan, but is waiting for the green light from the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC).

“San Miguel Corp., through Universal LRT Corp BVI Ltd (ULC), MRT-7 concessionaire, has fully complied with the financial closure requirements of the MRT-7 concession agreement and is now preparing to break ground on the vital infrastructure project,” San Miguel said in a statement on Monday night.

“We have already submitted required documents to the DoTC last week, certifying commitment from us and our banks to provide financing facilities for the project,” ULC Chairman Ramon S. Ang was quoted in the statement as saying.

Under the public-private partnership (PPP) project’s concession agreement, the contract is now “effective,” the statement read.

“We are ready but DoTC needs to give us contract effectively ASAP (as soon as possible) and deliver ROW (right of way) thereafter,” Mary Jane O. Llanes, San Miguel’s vice-president for Corporate Communications, said in a mobile phone reply yesterday.

Under the project’s timetable, construction and construction-related activities should start on Feb. 18 this year and be completed on Aug. 17, 2019.

The DoTC had yet to confirm the development and give other details as of press time.

San Miguel hired the Hyundai Rotem-EEI consortium as engineering, procurement and construction contractor. Yuchengco-led EEI Corp. told the Philippine Stock Exchange yesterday that: “EEI Corp., in consortium with Hyundai Rotem Co., has signed with Universal LRT Corporation (BVI) Ltd., the contract for the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the Metro Rail Transit System and Intermodal Transportation Terminal of The MRT-7 Project-Metro Manila.”

The project involves the financing, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the 23-kilometer elevated railway line with 14 stations from San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan to MRT 3 North Avenue in Quezon City; as well as a 22-kilometer asphalt road from Bocaue Interchange of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) to the intermodal terminal in Tala in Caloocan City.

“The road component will divert northern provincial buses operation to San Jose Del Monte, thereby decongesting EDSA,” read a project brief on the PPP Center’s Web site.

ULC signed the project’s 25-year concession agreement in 2008, but failed to secure a performance undertaking that was a condition for financial closure. Performance undertaking involves a state guarantee while financial closure entails having all requirements and necessary permits. San Miguel acquired a 51% stake in ULC in 2010.

Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima then signed the performance undertaking on July 23, 2014.

San Miguel shares lost 55 centavos or 0.75% to end trading yesterday at P73 apiece.

So far, contracts for 12 PPP projects cumulatively worth some P217.4 billion have been awarded since the infrastructure flagship was launched in the third quarter of 2010 -- or right after Mr. Aquino assumed office -- namely the: P1.72-billion Automatic Fare Collection System, P2.01-billion Daang Hari-SLEx Link Road (Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway) Project, P2.50-billion Southwest Integrated Transport System (ITS) Project, P4-billion ITS South Terminal Project, P8.69-billion Modernization of Philippine Orthopedic Center project (whose contract winning bidder Megawide Construction Corp. terminated in November last year), P15.86-billion second phase of the NAIA Expressway Project, P16.43-billion first phase of the PPP for School Infrastructure Project (PSIP), the P3.86-billion PSIP’s second phase, P17.52-billion Mactan-Cebu International Airport Passenger Terminal Building, P24.4-billion Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project, P55.51-billion Cavite-Laguna Expressway and P64.9-billion LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension and Operation & Maintenance project.