• House to review train deal

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    The House of Representatives will look again into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on the common station that will link three railway lines, a House leader said on Thursday.

    The Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1, Metro Rail Transit Line 3 and the future MRT Line 7 will share the P2.8-billion, 13,700-square-meter common station that will be built starting in December.

    “That is not good news, because the cost is too big for… because if we look at it, those trains are almost privately-run. Now the question is, the proposal on the common station, is that what is good for the convenience of passengers?” House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte told dzMM in a radio interview.

    Meanwhile, former MRT 3 General Manager Al Vitangcol 3rd told reporters also on Thursday that he and three groups are planning to file a graft complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the memorandum.

    The MOA was signed by SM Prime Holdings Inc., the Universal LRT Corp. unit of San Miguel Corp., Light Rail Manila Corp. and North Triangle Depot Commercial Corp., as well as the Department of Transportation, the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Light Rail Transit Authority.

    The common station will be constructed between the malls SM North EDSA and Trinoma.
    According to Alvarez, the review of the MOA aims to ensure that the project would also benefit the riding public.

    In the same radio interview, he said the “win-win” solution under the MOA will entail additional cost for the government.

    Vitangcol said the common-station deal violated the law.

    “Actually, I am talking to…NGOs, ‘yung Anti-Trapo Movement…, United Filipino Consumers and Commuters, and also the Liga ng Eksplosibong Pagbabago and we are planning to file a case against the officials concerned on why they have agreed to that particular setup and in fact if you will look at it, [t]he scheme is a circumvention of the Government Procurement Reform Act,” Vitangcol said in another interview.

    “What happened here was that the other party who was not able to get the award entered into a compromise with the winning bidder. So this will be a very bad precedent. What will happen is that all our competitive biddings will end up like that. If I am the losing bidder, all I have to do is to enter into a compromise agreement with the winning bidder, so it will result in collusion,” he added.

    Vitangcol also told reporters that he was a member of a task force that studied the matter.

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