Sun Star Cagayan de Oro, 24 September 2014
By Jigger J. Jerusalem
EXPANDING the Laguindingan Airport facilities and runway is expected to be implemented anytime in 2015, an airport official said Monday.
Laguindingan airport manager Engr. Jose Budiongan said the expansion will be for the airport‚Äôs cargo building, terminal, and runway.
He said the budget for the expansion project, the amount of which has yet to be determined and to be implemented by the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), has already been included in the General Appropriations Act of 2015.
‚ÄúNaka-program na ‚Äėna (expansion). It‚Äôs already in place,‚ÄĚ Budiongan told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro, adding that the project is forthcoming considering that the Laguindingan Airport is serving as gateway to Northern Mindanao.
Except when there are delays in some flights, he said there is no problem of overcrowding yet at the airport‚Äôs terminal area at present.
‚ÄúRight now, manageable pa,‚ÄĚ he said, adding that passengers will even be more spread out when the airport starts accepting night flights.
Once the setting up of additional navigation equipment will be completed, Budiongan said night flights should be available in the later part of this year.
Budiongan also welcomed the construction of the rotunda at the national highway going the airport, adding it not only adds beauty but it will also lessen road accidents.
The roundabout is funded and constructed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) through a contractor and has a mini-park within its premises.
An online article said the rotunda is part of the P233 million highway-widening project of DPWH along Opol-Laguindingan section.
City Mayor Oscar Moreno, in a separate interview recently, said that an expansion of the Laguindingan airport is necessary.
‚Äú(It) has more than enough room for expansion. It is one airport in the whole country that has abundant space. The Laguindingan Airport premises consist of 400 hectares. Mas dako pa compared to other airports,‚ÄĚ Moreno said.
He said that since it was implemented 10 years after its planning in 1996, the lengthy delay of the construction had contributed to the scaling down of the airport.
‚ÄúThe amount of the project remained constant at P7.9 billion. In the meantime, after 10 years prices of materials and labor have gone up not to mention the depreciation of the Philippine peso vis-a-vis the foreign currencies (the Korean won and the US dollar). It was a double whammy, naigo kita,‚ÄĚ he said.
What happened, Moreno said, was the construction of the project continued but the necessary consequence was scaling the project down.
The runway, for example, was originally planned at 2.5 kilometers, but was shortened to 2.1 kilometer. The size of the terminal was also reduced.
But, he said to ease the government from bearing the brunt of the expenses in undertaking the expansion, it would be better if it goes into a public-private partnership (PPP).
‚ÄúPwede man dili i-privatize, but if we are to spend for expansion, bug-at kaayo,‚ÄĚ he said, adding that the national government could not just pour all its resources to the Laguindingan Airport alone since there are other airports that need to be attended to, as well.
He said a PPP does not mean that a publicly-run facility will be under private control forever, but this arrangement will be advantageous to the government. He likened it to the build-operate-transfer (BOT) but with variants.
‚ÄúPrivate money will be spent to upgrade the airport, after that it will be operated by the private sector but for a fixed term. At the end of the term, Laguindingan airport will be back in government hands. CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) will still be there as regulator in terms of aviation security and safety, but the operation will be [undertaken by the private investor],‚ÄĚ Moreno said.
Airport can be productive, and in many cities, he added, the regulatory aspect would still be the function of the government.
‚ÄúRegulation is a governmental function; it can‚Äôt be outsourced to somebody else. But the operation can be given to the private sector. The agenda on the part of the government is you don‚Äôt spend for the project, it will be private money-funded. The idea is to make the project attractive to the private sector,‚ÄĚ he said.
He added that even in other countries, BOT is no longer the trend but PPP.
Manila Bulletin, 22 September 2014
By Kris Bayos
The government is mulling on establishing a rail system that will connect Rizal province to the business districts in Makati and Taguig or the planned Manila East Mass Transport System (MEMTS).
In a presentation before visiting British investors and transport companies recently, Transportation Undersecretary Rene Limcaoco said the government is in the process of procuring a transaction advisor for the MEMTS.
Limcaoco said the MEMTS project will involve the establishment, operation, and maintenance of a railway system from Rizal to Makati and Taguig.
Limcaoco said the feasibility study is expected to be completed by the 2nd quarter of 2015. If the studies are viable, Limcaoco said government can proceed with the bidding by the 3rd quarter.
Pressed for details on the MEMTS, Transportation Assistant Secretary Jaime Feliciano said there is still no information on the length, route and cost of the project.
‚ÄúThe transaction advisor will conduct the feasibility study that will determine these details. The PPP Center is still in the process of procurement,‚ÄĚ Feliciano added.
If pursued, the MEMTS will compliment the planned subway system that will connect the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig to the Makati City Business District and to the reclaimed Aseana District along Manila Bay in Pasay City. Touted as the Mass Transit System Loop (MTSL), it is the country‚Äôs first underground rail system that is worth at least P138 billion.
Limcaoco said the MTSL will be bidded out by the 1st quarter of 2015. Once established, the subway system is expected to provide commuters with seamless transit experience from their homes to their final destination in the financial districts.
18 September 2014
President Benigno S. Aquino III witnessed the signing of two agreements for Light Rail Transit Line 1 on the sidelines of the Business Forum held at the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand Hotel Opera Ballroom.
The first is the Technical Services Agreement between RATP Developpement and the Light Rail Manila Consortium for the provision of operation and maintenance, technical advice and expertise relating to the operations and maintenance of the Manila LRT 1 Cavite Extension, Operation and Maintenance Project.
RATP Developpement President Pierre Mongin, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation President/CEO Jose Ma. K. Lim and Ayala Corporation President/COO Fernando Zobel de Ayala were the signatories.
The second is the Engineering, Procurement and Construction Agreement between Bouygues Publics Travaux, Alstom Transport and Light Rail Manila Consortium, for the design and construction of the Manila LRT Line 1 Extension Project extending the line by 12 kilometers and the addition of eight stations.
Alstom Transport President Henri Poupart Lafarge, Bouygues Publics Travaux CEO Christian Gazaignes were the signatories on the French side.
The two agreements were meant to improve and upgrade the rail transport facilities and ridership experience of many Filipinos.
Business World, 21 September 2014
By Chrisee J.V. dela ¬†Paz
The Philippine Star, 20 September 2014
By Aurea Calica
PARIS ‚Äď President Aquino witnessed here Thursday the signing of a technical service agreement between RATP Developpement and the Light Rail Manila Consortium for the operation and maintenance of Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1.
The agreement, signed between RATP Developpement president Pierre Mongin and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. president and chief executive officer Jose Ma. Lim during the Philippines-France Business Forum at Intercontinental Paris Le Grand Hotel, aims to provide operation and maintenance service and technical advice and expertise relating to the operations and maintenance of the Manila LRT 1 Cavite Extension, Operation and Maintenance Project.
The Light Rail Manila Consortium also signed an engineering, procurement and construction agreement with Bouygues Travaux Publics and Alstom Transport for the design and construction of the Manila Light Rail Transit Line 1 Extension Project. Under the project, Line 1 will be extended by 12 kilometers with eight more stations to be added.
Fernando Zobel de Ayala, president and chief operating officer of Ayala Corp., and Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya were also present during the signing of the two agreements.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Aquino and his economic cluster ministers expressed appreciation for the Ayala-Bouygues-Alstom group for its determination in pushing through with the LRT 1 South Extension project.
Zobel de Ayala and Lim were joined by Christian Gazaignes, chief executive of¬† Bouygues Travaux Publics, and Henri Poupart-Lafarge, executive vice president and president of Alstom transport sector.
‚ÄúMr. Gazaignes told the President that the firming up of the project culminates more than two decades of his company‚Äôs efforts to package and participate in a Philippine transport infrastructure project,‚ÄĚ Coloma said.
Coloma quoted Aquino as saying the government was working on strengthening the reforms aimed at leveling the playing field, ensuring ‚Äúconstancy of rules‚ÄĚ and reducing regulatory risk for investors.
Poupart-Lafarge said that Alstom sought to expand its involvement beyond the LRT 1 project and that the company was planning to establish a Manila-based affiliate, Coloma said.
Egis has been doing business in the Philippines since the early 1990s, starting with its involvement in the Manila North Tollways Corp. as a provider of tolling and other fixed operating equipment. It is also Ayala Corp.‚Äôs technical provider in the toll operations and maintenance of the Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway Link Road Project.
The company‚Äôs expertise is in the following fields: engineering, project structuring and operations services in the transport, urban development, water, environment and energy sector.
The group also signified to the President its interest in participating in major water supply projects that would address the long-term water needs of Metro Manila and Luzon, Coloma said.
Manila Bulletin, 20 September 2014
By Kris Bayos
The government is spending at least P109 billion to expand the country‚Äôs main gateways and develop the secondary airports to accommodate jet planes to boost the aviation and tourism industries.
In a transport investment forum hosted this week by the British Embassy Manila, Transportation Undersecretary for Planning Rene Limcaoco said there are at least 49 projects to upgrade key gateways, improve secondary airports and modernize old-airports to be jet-capable hubs.
‚ÄúThe government is targeting to bring the aviation sector to the ‚Äėjet-age‚Äô since a lot of our airports that are built in the ‚Äô60s only accommodate turbo propellers, which costs 50 percent higher to operate than jets. This in turn sets an obstacle to lower fares which is in turn a precursor to an expanded aviation industry,‚ÄĚ he said.
Limcaoco invited British transportation industry players to join the bidding for the aviation projects that are worth a total of $2.4 billion. He added that DOTC is closely working with the Department of Tourism to develop the country‚Äôs airports since it will boost tourism industry, which will provide opportunities to the unemployed and eventually contribute to the country‚Äôs economic growth.
The official likewise urged British companies and investors to join the bidding for the numerous rail projects of the Aquino Administration.
‚ÄúCurrently, only 6 percent of trips in Metro Manila are taken by rail,‚ÄĚ he explained. ‚ÄúThis is low compared to the more developed nations where mass transit ridership encompasses between 22 to 40 percent of riders. We are targeting to bring this number up to 17 to 18 percent by expanding existing rail lines and building more.‚ÄĚ
Limcaoco said the DOTC is looking at tapping the public-private partnership scheme in rolling out the government‚Äôs aviation and rail projects.
‚ÄúWe are looking at PPP for both our rail and aviation projects as a delivery vehicle in order to help us foot part of this bill and make sure that private sector know-how on operation and management does contribute to a more efficient airport and rail system network,‚ÄĚ he added.
For his part, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said foreign participation in the auction of the rail and aviation projects is very much encouraged.
‚ÄúWe encourage as much competition as possible to ensure that we get the best deals that the field has to offer. We also try to draw as much foreign participation as we can to infuse our projects with international experience and expertise,‚ÄĚ Abaya said in a speech delivered for him by Undersecretary for Legal Jose Perpetuo Lotilla.
‚ÄúI am sure that the Philippines would benefit from the technical capability that‚Äôs been harnessed over time from the development of the United Kingdom‚Äôs extensive transport network,‚ÄĚ Abaya added.