• Metro Pacific files new MRT-3 proposal

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    Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) has submitted a formal proposal to expand the operations of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) amid plans for a government takeover of the troubled commuter rail line, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said.

    DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said his department received MPIC’s formal proposal last week, but no decision on it has been made as “it is still being digested.”

    MPIC had earlier asked the government to reconsider the company’s proposal to expand the line.

    Abaya explained that it was somewhat unclear where the proposal originated, disclosing that “Before, Sobrepeña [MRT Holdings chairman Robert Sobrepeña] submitted a two-page letter but he signed it (then) as Metro Global Holdings Inc. (MGHI), which is now a new entity.”

    “Basically, I don’t even know the nature [of the MPIC proposal]– is it separate, is it with the Sobrepeña group, is it one and the same?” Abaya told reporters.

    Asked if the DOTC is open to reconsidering the MPIC proposal, Abaya replied: “We are still studying it — for me, honestly, I think we are much better off with an open, transparent, and competitive bid.”

    MPIC, which is led by businessman Manny Pangilinan, took a controlling stake of 48 percent in the MRTC after signing cooperation agreements with the various groups that held rights and interests in MRT 3.

    The move complicates the government’s plan to gain control of the operations of MRT3 from MRTC.

    President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd earlier ordered the takeover in order to save on huge government subsidies currently being paid to the ailing railway line.

    MRTC also has a pending arbitration case before the International Chamber of Commerce in Singapore against the Philippine government accusing the latter of late payment of equity rentals.

    According to Abaya, the planned MRT3 buyout by the government requires the blessing of the arbitration court.

    The takeover would involve an equity value buyout of all outstanding shares of stock and other securities issued by the MRTC and other entities owning the MRT3 pursuant to the terms of the MRT build-lease-transfer (BLT) agreement.

    “So we will see, the critical part quickly explained to me by legal is that we could amend the BLT as long as the amendment is not substantial, and neither would it disadvantage government,” Abaya said.

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    1 Comment

    1. Halfingfalidor Bloodrose on

      Bidding is Abaya’s favorite delaying tactic. He did it in the past by issuing deliberately unreasonable terms for maintenance contracts so that companies refused to bid. In the end he called for an emergency, saying time for bidding had run out, so he designated PH Trams, a company no one has ever heard of (except possibly the DOTC exec who was related to one of its officers). Later, Abaya called in the also incompetent APT Global to take over. Fast forward to the present: TRhe past two or three bids have also been delcared failures becasuse none of the bidders wants to maintain a broken down MRT. Any guesses what Abaya’s next move will be? (Incidentally, one of the bidders is APT Global.)

      ‘Studying’ proposals is another favorite delaying tactic, just like he said he would study MPIC’s similar proposal sub,itted in the past but which he never followed up. (Incidentally, he said he would ‘study’ the terms of the maintenance contract also.)

      Some people were injured in that MRT braking incident the other day. Each day of Abaya-born delays risks much worse. Let Metro Pacific who knows what it’s doing run the MRT.