The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) on Friday said that the Department of Finance (DOF) has signed the performance undertaking for the construction of the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT 7).
“[The] performance undertaking has been signed by DOF Secretary Cesar Purisima. We have signed our implementing guidelines, so it is a matter of calling them and giving it to them so go na ‘yan [so that is a go],” DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya told reporters.
He added, “DOF signed that [performance undertaking]. Next step, pagkaabot sa kanila [once the implementing guidelines are given to them], they should commence financial close. Ang pakiusap ko sa kanila [My request to them] is to do it sooner than 18 months, but they’re saying they could do advanced works once they get the green light. Sana [Hopefully], before next year.”
Last year, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)-Cabinet Committee endorsed the MRT 7 project to President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
However, under the implementing rules and regulations of the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law, a project that undergoes cost changes should go back to the NEDA-Investment Coordinating Committee for re-evaluation.
NEDA approval for the project had lapsed, so the project needs to undergo re-evaluation. BOT rules also provide for an 18-month validity of the NEDA approval.
The MRT 7 project will cost roughly $1.2 billion. The said project has been delayed for about five years because of the proponent’s failure to secure a performance undertaking from the DOF.
A performance undertaking is a guaranty issued by the government that an agency implementing a project will comply with its obligations.
The MRT 7 will run from San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan to SM City North Edsa, linking up with the Light Rail Transit Line 1 and MRT 3.
The DOTC earlier said that the planned MRT 7 would begin in Tala, Caloocan City, pass through Lagro, Fairview, Novaliches, Batasan, Diliman, and Philcoa, before ending at the planned common station on the Epifanio delos Santos Avenue and North Avenue. The railway will serve an estimated two million commuters in the northern parts of Quezon City and Caloocan City.