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“Collective efforts” crucial for PH PPP success

PRESS RELEASE
05 March 2015
 
The Philippines highlighted the gains and recent developments in the implementation of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Program in the country during the APEC PPP Experts Advisory Panel Meeting. The meeting held at Tagaytay last March 4 gathered delegates from APEC member countries for Asia Pacific Infrastructure Partnership Dialogue.

Executive Director Cosette V. Canilao of the Public-Private Partnership Center (PPPC) acknowledged the importance of the government’s collective efforts in implementing successful PPPs in the meeting.

“PPPs are complex. It requires the strong support of the leaders and movers in the government, especially the buy in of both the oversight and implementing agencies”, she said.

Despite the challenges that were encountered since the launching of the PPP program in 2010, Canilao emphasized that the government has achieved significant accomplishments.

“We now have a program with a sound policy framework, established institutional reforms, a robust pipeline of PPP projects, and well-capacitated implementing agencies”, she said.

The government has already awarded nine (9) PPP projects totaling to around USD 2.9 billion. These awarded projects are Daang-Hari-SLEX Link Road, the Phase 1 and 2 of the PPP for School Infrastructure Project, NAIA Expressway Phase 2 project, Modernization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center, Automatic Fare Collection System, Mactan Cebu International Airport Passenger Terminal Building, the LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension O&M, and the Integrated Transport System-Southwest Terminal Project.

In 2014, a total of 11 projects were successfully rolled out, including the biggest PPP project to date, the USD 2.73 billion Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike. Last week, there were four (4) interested bidders that submitted pre-qualification documents for this project.
Start of this year, three projects were already rolled out: Regional Prison Facilities through PPP, Cavite- Laguna Expressway (CALAX), and the Tanauan City Public Market Redevelopment. This prison facility is the first major PPP project of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and also the first of its kind in the country. The government will conduct an Investors Conference on March 20.
Participation of International and local investors in PPP projects have also increased since 2010.

“The turn-out of investors participating in the bidding of projects, both local and foreign, have expanded throughout the years”, Canilao said.

Meanwhile, the government is currently pushing for amendments of the Build-Operate-Transfer Law.

“We are pushing for the enactment of the PPP Act (amendments to the BOT Law) which will institutionalize the reforms we have put in place and further strengthen the legal framework of our proven and tested processes”, Canilao said.

The Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines, Management Association of the Philippines and Makati Business Club have recently shown their support for the passing of the PPP Act.
 

Fate of 1st PH subway proposal known late March

If approved by the NEDA Board, the project will be up for bids by the second quarter of 2015, the PPP Center chief says

MANILA, Philippines – Will the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board chaired by President Benigno Aquino III approve the proposal for the country’s first-ever subway project when it meets in late March?

Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center Executive Director Cosette Canilao said the NEDA Board is set to meet on either March 24 or 25 to decide on the approval of the P370-billion ($8.39-billion) PPP project.

“If the Mass Transit System Loop is approved, we can start bidding toward the latter part of the second quarter,” Canilao said during the press conference at the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Finance and Central Bank Deputies’ Meeting Wednesday, March 4 in Tagaytay City.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is pursuing the project that would connect the cities of Makati, Taguig, and Pasay. It aims to improve inter-city linkage by providing a higher capacity public transportation system, as well as address the high volume of vehicular traffic traversing the major business districts of Metro Manila.

While the public seems excited about what would be the first subway in the country, sentiments are mixed among the government and private sectors over the viability of the project which, if approved, would be the most expensive PPP to be rolled out by the Aquino administration.

For instance, NEDA asked DOTC to present the route using 26th Street instead of 32nd Street inside Bonifacio Global City for the 12-kilometer Mass Transit System Loop project because the government would have to spend an extra P20 billion ($453.34 million) for the route using 32nd Street, DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya previously explained.

DOTC prefers 32nd Street as the last stop because the 26th Street route could entail some legal issues and impediments as the subway system would have to pass through Manila Golf along McKinley Avenue.

Meanwhile, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said building a light rail system is easier and cheaper than the subway system thus exploring all possibilities to develop the country’s rail network might be a more feasible option.

MVIS PPP, knowledge sharing

Another PPP project up for NEDA Board approval is the P19.3-billion ($437.61-million) Motor Vehicle Inspection System, Canilao shared.

The project includes the development and operations and maintenance (O&M) of a national network of motor vehicle inspection centers, using inspection methods that will be linked to the information system of the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

By 2035, the motor vehicle population in the country is estimated to reach almost 35 million, the PPP Center said.

During the meeting, APEC delegates discussed various means to accelerate PPPs, seen as helpful in boosting job-generating investments.

PPP is an initiative whereby the private sector is tapped to invest in public projects or programs to help fill in the investment gap.

In the meeting, delegates agreed that APEC member-economies should constantly share their respective knowledge in PPP.

One proposal is for APEC members to have a “PPP Knowledge Portal” accessible to all of them.

“We are delighted to see APEC economies come together to exchange knowledge in PPP,” Canilao said.

In the Philippines, contracts for 9 solicited PPP infrastructure projects amounting to about $2.9 billion, have been awarded since the start of the Aquino administration in 2010.

The number is more than the total of 6 awarded contracts in the previous 3 administrations combined. (READ: Aquino: More PPP projects awarded than past 3 admins) – Rappler.com

US$1 = P44.10

Rappler, 04 March 2015
 

Philippines showcases PPP program in APEC meet

MANILA – The Philippines showcased its public-private partnership (PPP) program to delegates from various APEC member-economies in Tagaytay City on Wednesday.

Nine infrastructure projects, worth a total of about $2.9 billion, have been awarded under the PPP program of the Aquino administration.

These projects include the Daang Hari-SLEX Link Road Project, NAIA Expressway (Phase II) Project, Mactan-Cebu International Airport Passenger Terminal Building, and the LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension and O&M.

More than 15 PPP projects are currently in the bidding stage.

PPP is an initiative where the private sector is tapped to invest in public projects or programs to help fill in the investment gap.

A meeting was held with APEC member economies to discuss means to accelerate PPPs, which are seen helpful in boosting job-generating investments.

The meeting highlighted the benefits of the PPP program in helping accelerate investments and growth.

“We are delighted to see APEC economies come together to exchange knowledge in PPP,” PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao said.

“The Philippines has come a long way since the PPP program was relaunched in 2010. Five years hence, we are proud to say that we now have a program with a sound policy framework, established institutional reforms, a robust pipeline of PPP projects and well capacitated agencies,” she added.

Delegates have agreed for APEC member-economies to constantly share their respective knowledge in PPP. One proposal is for APEC member-economies to have a PPP Knowledge Portal that is accessible to all of the members.

The 4th APEC PPP Experts Advisory Panel Meeting is just one of the year-round APEC meetings for 2015. The meetings cover a wide range of issues related to development for the Asia-Pacific region.

The Philippines serves as host of APEC 2015.

Meanwhile, Indonesia also shared its experience in setting up its PPP Unit, the regulation for the creation of which was issued by the Ministry of Finance of Indonesia in 2014.

Freddy Saragih, the director of the PPP unit of Indonesia, said the staffing of the unit has been completed. Initially, the PPP unit has 10 projects in the pipeline, of which 3 are in power, 3 are in water supply, and 4 in transportation.

“We would like to increase our capacity,” Saragih said, adding that the PPP Unit will have its staff trained to secure PPP certification.

ABS-CBN News, 04 March 2014
 

House completion of BOT Law amendments seen in June

AMID CALLS from business groups to hasten the passage of amendments to the decades-old Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law, a House leader said the proposal may secure congressional approval by June.

“(We) hope to finish committee deliberations before we take recess this March,” House Committee on Public Works and Highways chairman and Benguet Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan said via text last week when asked when his panel would wrap-up discussions on the proposal.

“Floor deliberations, approval when we return April, May and then June,” he added.

The seven-member Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) in the Philippines, in a position paper submitted to a House of Representatives panel last week, pressed for urgent action on the BOT law amendments, citing the need to further strengthen the framework of the government’s centerpiece infrastructure program in order to eliminate “hindrances to the implementation of critical public projects.”

Both the government and business groups have tagged BOT reform as a priority amid the various procedural delays and conflicts that have stood in the way of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects since the program’s inception in 2010.

House Speaker Feliciano R. Belmonte, Jr., for his part promised to fast-track the approval of the BOT Law.

“Surely we want to pass the needed economic reforms including the BOT law at the soonest time,” he said separately in a text message reply last week, adding that they target to approve the proposal by the end of the second regular session of the 16th Congress.

“We think [we can approve] by then, but we cannot be that sure,” he added.

The second regular session of the 16th Congress will run from May 4 to June 11. The Senate and the House of Representatives will resume sessions after the President’s final State of the Nation Address in July, signaling the start of the third regular session of the 16th Congress.

In the Senate, the Committee on Public Works headed by Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., has been conducting hearings on the proposal although no timetable yet has been given for approving the measure. The committee is set to resume talks on the BOT Law amendments next week after its deliberations on Tuesday.

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, in his keynote address at the fourth Arangkada Assessment Forum yesterday, highlighted the Senate’s commitment to push for the approval of economic measures that would further promote the country as a good business destination.

The Senate leader said Congress would approve the BOT Law within the year, and forward it to President Benigno S. C. Aquino III for signature.

The consolidated version of the amendments to the BOT Law, which is set to be approved by the House panel on public works, will firm up the institutional standing of the PPP Center and allow joint venture (JV) contracts as part of possible PPP project agreements. PPP participants will also be exempt from paying real property tax and transfer taxes, such as capital gains tax and documentary stamp tax, and all local taxes in the case of projects of national significance.

Investment incentives will also be offered on all infrastructure projects worth P1 billion or more, in order to attract more potential private sector partners.

Asked to comment on the specific provisions in the consolidated proposed amendments to the current BOT law, John D. Forbes, senior adviser of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines said via text: “Marked improvement in roll-out of PPP projects and transparency of the process show that the mechanism and processes instituted by the PPP Center are working and must be included in the law.”

“Domestic and foreign investors want uniformity and consistency in the application of the law, so the inclusion of JV is a welcome amendment. [Also] It’s not contractors, per se, who are exempted from tax. The proposed exemption from real property tax applies to projects of national significance classified as such by the President, after recommendation of the NEDA-ICC (National Economic and Development Authority-Investment Coordination Committee and consultation with the DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government,” he added.

Mr. Forbes added that infrastructure projects “are expected to create new jobs and have a positive, nationwide economic impact.”

As to investment thresholds, he said it is “better for NEDA Board or ICC to determine the proper thresholds.”

“Stating a specific threshold amount in law, can render it obsolete within a few years. Finally, right of way valuation must be uniform across any project, not just PPP,”he said.

The current BOT Law was enacted in 1990 and last amended in 1994.

The JFC, in its letter to Mr. Cosalan’s committee said: “the private sector is cognizant of the great need for massive infrastructure investments to support and boost the growth of the Philippine economy.”

“We recognize that the government’s Public-Private Partnership Program provides the framework by which infrastructure development can be accelerated and properly tendered to interested and capable parties,” the group, composed of the American, Australia-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese and South Korean chambers and the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters, Inc.,which altogether have invested some $30 billion in the Philippines, said in a two-page letter.

“We call on government to swiftly enact the amendments to the BOT Law that will institutionalize the PPP Center and its processes, which we believe will further strengthen our PPP framework and prevent hindrances to the implementation of critical public projects,” the group further said.

Meanwhile, Malacañang said it will continue working with Congress to push for the enactment of its priority agenda which include a number of economic bills.

“We will continue to work closely with Congress in pushing for the approval of the amendments of the BOT law and other priority economic measures,” Communications Secretary Herminio B. Coloma, Jr., said in a text message.

Business World, 03 March 2015
By Imee Charlee C. Delavin
 

Angara seeks enhanced PPP law to hasten infra development

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara filed a bill on Tuesday seeking to promote and authorize public-private partnerships for the financing, construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure facilities and services.

“For the country to build on its recent economic gains and to ensure the proper investment environment in our country, the private sector must be further encouraged to make investments through a modernized and enhanced PPP law,” Angara, chairman of the Senate ways and means committee, said.

He that government has traditionally been in charge of providing and financing infrastructure in the country, but since investment requirements have exceeded the capacities of the government, private participation in infrastructure development has become essential.

Over the past two decades, developments in utilities, transportation, property development and information technology have been undertaken through contractual arrangements such as the build-operate-transfer scheme.

However, Recto pointed out, while “the BOT law has been in existence since the 90s” and has generated gains, “full potential for the synergy of the public and private sectors in improving and expanding the country’s infrastructure, such as our airports and rail systems and even in the building of schools and hospitals, have not been fully taken advantage of.”

Senate Bill 2672, or the PPP Act, provides for more liberalized government regulations and procedures to better address the needs and bureaucratic concerns of PPP investors, Angara said.

The proposed measure provides for the automatic grant of administrative franchises, licenses or permits to winning bidders, subject to the compliance with the requirements of the regulator and payment of appropriate taxes and fees.

It also aims to protect public interest by ensuring fair and reasonable pricing, timely delivery of quality infrastructure, goods and services, and by requiring full public disclosure of all PPP transactions.

In addition, upon certification and recommendation by the Investment Coordination Committee and prior consultation with the Department of Interior and Local Government, the president may classify certain projects, such as energy, toll road, mass transit, water, sewerage and such other projects, as “projects of national significance.”

All real properties which are directly used for such projects shall be exempt from any and all real property taxes, while all local taxes, fees and charges imposed by a province, city or municipality on the project proponent shall not exceed 50 percent of one percent of gross sales or receipts of the preceding calendar year.

The bill also seeks to institutionalize the PPP Center that will serve as a link between the government and the private sector.

“We must be more transparent and competitive in the process of selecting our private sector partners. We must learn from successful and failed projects in the past, as well as global best practices in PPP,” Recto said.

“With the additional incentives provided under our measure, it is our hope that we could attract more potential private investors to help the government fast-track and improve the construction of public infrastructure and services to boost the growth of the Philippine economy,” Angara said.

InterAksyon, 03 March 2015
By Ernie Reyes
 

Angara pushes liberalized PPP to hasten infra devt

In a bid to hasten infrastructure development in the country, Sen. Sonny Angara has filed a bill that seeks to relax the rules on public-private partnerships (PPPs) for the financing, construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure facilities and services.

Angara hopes his Senate Bill 2672 or the PPP Act will better address the needs and bureaucratic concerns of PPP investors.

“For the country to build on its recent economic gains and to ensure the proper investment environment in our country, the private sector must be further encouraged to make investments through a modernized and enhanced PPP law,” said Angara, chairman of the Senate ways and means committee.

The lawmaker noted that the government has traditionally been responsible for providing and financing infrastructure in the country, but investment requirements have exceeded the capacities of the government, prompting the public sector to enable private participation in infrastructure development.

In the past two decades, a number of services in utilities, transportation, property development and information technology have been provided through contractual arrangements such as the build-operate-transfer (BOT) law.

“The BOT law has been in existence since the 90s. Gains have been made with the passage of this law and yet, the full potential for the synergy of the public and private sectors in improving and expanding the country’s infrastructure, such as our airports and rail systems and even in the building of schools and hospitals, has not been fully taken advantage of,” he added.

The proposed new measure provides for the automatic grant of administrative franchise, license or permit in favor of the winning bidder, subject to compliance with the requirements of the regulator and payment of appropriate taxes and fees.

SB 2672 likewise aims to protect public interest by ensuring fair and reasonable pricing, timely delivery of quality infrastructure, goods and services, and by requiring full public disclosure of all PPP transactions.

“We must be more transparent and competitive in the process of selecting our private sector partners. We must learn from successful and failed projects in the past, as well as global best practices in PPP,” the senator said.

In addition, upon certification and recommendation by the Investment Coordination Committee and prior consultation with the Department of Interior and Local Government, the President may classify certain projects, such as energy, toll road, mass transit, water, and sewerage, as “projects of national significance.”

All real properties which are directly used for such projects shall be exempt from any and all real property taxes under the new measure, while all local taxes, fees and charges imposed by a province, city or municipality on the project proponent shall not exceed 50 percent of one percent of gross sales or receipts of the preceding calendar year.

The bill also seeks to institutionalize the PPP Center that will serve as a link between the government and the private sector.

It will be tasked to assist implementing agencies in identifying, developing, promoting, facilitating, monitoring and evaluating PPP projects. It must report to the Office of the President and Congress on the implementation of the PPP programs and projects of the government at the end of each year.

“With the additional incentives provided under our measure, it is our hope that we could attract more potential private investors to help the government fast-track and improve the construction of public infrastructure and services to boost the growth of the Philippine economy,” Angara said.

The Manila Times, 03 March 2015
By Voltaire Palaña
 

We don’t take out loans larger than project costs—Megawide Construction Corp.

This refers to Conrado R. Banal III’s article titled “Mystery loves company” (Business, 2/26/15).

As a publicly listed company, Megawide Construction Corp. (Megawide) feels the need to correct the many inaccuracies that Banal passed off as facts.

“A pattern thus emerged: The Megawide group arranged loans much bigger than the project costs, such as the P23.3-billion loan for the P17.5-billion Cebu airport, or the P2.9-billion loan from government banks for the P2.5-billion bus depot,” Banal said.

  1. Megawide and its affiliates do not take out loans in amounts larger than project costs.
  • On the PPP for School Infrastructure Project (PSIP) 1 under the Department of Education, the total cost is P12.8 billion while the total debt availed of from domestic banks is only P6.5 billion.
  • As to the modernization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center project, the total cost is P5.7 billion while the total debt availed of from domestic banks is only P2.9 billion.
  • Regarding the Mactan-Cebu International Airport project, the total cost is actually P34 billion. The total project cost necessarily includes the bid premium already paid to the government (P16.13 billion, inclusive of value-added tax). For a P34-billion project, we availed of a loan from syndicated banks amounting to only P23.3 billion.
  1. Banal said that the consortium and, in particular, GMR Infrastructure, may be financially troubled. It is significant to note that the consortium joint-venture company, formed between Megawide and GMR, has already paid from its own internal sources the amount of P4.8 billion as its own equity and has not simply borrowed to fund this project.
  2. On the Intermodal Transport System-Southwest Terminal project, the total cost is actually P3.27 billion. At present, this project is still in the process of achieving financial closure, and no bank has agreed to lend for this project yet.
  3. Aside from these glaring inaccuracies, we would also like to stress that all concession agreements on public-private partnership (PPP) projects require the infusion of equity of at least 30 percent of the project cost because such projects cannot be funded solely on debt. Hence, Megawide and its affiliates are required to put in capital for the implementation of all the aforementioned projects.
  4. Banal also said that “the group already asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for license to issue P10 billion worth of preferred shares.” The fact: Megawide sought to offer a maximum of only P7 billion in preferred shares to the public late last year, but chose to only offer P4 billion as it believed that this was sufficient to fund its projects. Such issuance was already approved by the SEC and the Philippine Stock Exchange. The fact that these regulators approved such public offer means they believed that the offer was a sound one for the investing public. At present, we are not seeking to raise any additional funds through preferred shares.
  1. At the end of the article, Banal stated that “bankers noted that the Megawide group never provided financial statements on its website (I checked and they were right).” False. The financial statements of Megawide, which are integrated in SEC forms 17-A and 17-Q, are accessible to the general public through our website at www.megawide.com.ph/disclosures.html.

Banal asked: “And so who are the mysterious investors behind Citicore?” referring to the parent company of Megawide. No mystery there; this information is readily available with the SEC.

 

—MICHAEL C. COSIQUIEN,

chair and chief executive officer,

Megawide Construction Corp.

Philippine Daily Inquirer, 03 March 2015

Pangilinan cool to idea of Philippines’ first subway

MANILA, Philippines – Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) would prefer the government develop the light rail system, instead of the more expensive subway system.

“Our view there, frankly is that, let’s build a viable light rail system within the city. And then a subway will be the next step. It’s going to be extremely expensive,” MPIC chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is pushing for the Mass Transit System Loop project that would connect Bonifacio Global City to Makati central business district and Mall of Asia area in Pasay.

The estimated cost for the 12-kilometer subway is P370 billion, making it the Philippine government’s most expensive PPP project.

Pangilian isn’t too impressed with the DOTC’s plans for a subway, noting it should first focus on expanding the elevated MRT and LRT systems.

“Let’s exhaust all possibilities of a light rail system in the city, and then stage 2, subway. It’s heavier in scope, it’s a heavier system and it can carry more passengers. I think eventually the Philippines should have a subway system. It’s just a question of timing,” he said.

The DOTC is hoping the NEDA Board, chaired by President Aquino, will approve the proposed subway system within the year.

Manila’s first subway is proposed to run from Market Market and St. Luke’s hospital in The Fort, to the EDSA-MRT stations on Buendia and Ayala, to Ayala Triangle, the Makati post office and the PNR station on Buendia, then to the LRT-1 station on Buendia and Taft, then across Roxas Boulevard to the World Trade Center and SM Mall of Asia, then back to the EDSA-MRT station on Taft.

MPIC has teamed up with Ayala Corp. to bid for rail projects in the country. The Light Rail Manila Consortium has already won the P65 billion contract to extend the LRT-1 to Bacoor, Cavite from Baclaran in Pasay City.

ABS-CBN News, 02 March 2015
 

Market climbs on selective buying

The stock market climbed Monday on selective buying, boosted by China’s interest rate cut for the second time since November and better-than-forecast US economic data over the weekend.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index rose 43.35 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,773.92 on a value turnover of P8.2 billion. Gainers beat losers, 98 to 67, with 56 issues unchanged.

Ayala Land Inc., a major property developer, advanced 2.1 percent to P37. Parent Ayala Corp., SM Prime Holdings Inc. of retail tycoon Henry Sy Sr., the Aboitiz Group and Megaworld Corp. are joining forces to bid for the government’s largest infrastructure project—the P123-billion Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike project.

The four were finalizing the details of the partnership before submitting the bid for the project.

Megaworld, the biggest lessor of office spaces, gained 1.7 percent to P5.56, while Sy’s SM Investments Corp. climbed 1.9 percent to P897. SM Prime fell 0.8 percent to P19.60.

Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., the second-largest lender, rose 1.1 percent to P93.60, while Semirara Mining and Power Corp. of the Consunji Group surged 2.5 percent to P159.50.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., the biggest telecommunications firm, declined 2 percent to P3,100.

The rest of Asian markets rose Monday, with investors watching several key events this week, including political gatherings in China, a meeting of the European Central Bank and the release of US jobs figures.

Shanghai added 0.79 percent, or 25.99 points, to close at 3,336.29 and Hong Kong advanced 0.26 percent, or 64.15 points, to 24,887.44.

Tokyo climbed 0.15 percent, or 28.94 points to end at 18,826.88, Seoul closed 0.55 percent higher, putting on 11.01 points to 1,996.81, and Sydney gained 0.51 percent, or 30.12 points, to 5,958.88.

The People’s Bank of China on Saturday cut interest rates by 25 basis points, citing “historically low inflation” among the factors behind its decision.

The move is the latest aimed at helping the economy regain its luster after it grew in 2014 at the slowest pace since 1990. Last month the central bank cut the percentage of funds banks must hold in reserve to try to boost lending. With AFP

Manila Standard Today, 02 March 2015
 

AirAsia CEO bats for Manila-Clark road link

A connector road between Manila and Clark would play a vital role in encouraging passengers from Manila to use Clark International Airport (CIA), a top official of budget carrier AirAsia said.

“I think a good road connection between Clark and Metro Manila would help,” AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes told reporters.

Last year, Transport and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said that the Philippine National Railways would extend its service to Cagayan and Isabela and possibly build a spur to Clark Green City.

Abaya said the DOTC has allowed the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) to prepare a feasibility study for the rail spur.

The DOTC early this year said it would propose the setting up of an elevated railway system that would cost $5 billion (P220.5 billion) and will be built over the existing railways.

The project includes the 900-kilometer Integrated Luzon Railway [IRL] that will run from Cagayan to Sorsogon, Bicol and the 90-kilometer North-South Commuter Railway that will run from Malolos, Bulacan to Calamba, Laguna.

The DOTC said that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is helping the government to complete the feasibility study for the Malolos-Calamba commuter rail.

The proposed railway would cover the entire north and south networks of the state-run PNR.

PNR’s north network runs from Manila to La Union as well as a branch line from Tarlac to San Jose, Nueva Ecija, and a possible extension to Cagayan, while the south network traverses Manila to Legaspi City, including the branch line from Calamba to Batangas City.

Abaya also clarified that the railway system BCDA is proposing for Clark is not a bullet train but a train running at 150 kilometers per hour.

“Clark is 100 kilometers away. If it travels at 150kph, you get there in 40 minutes. You don’t need a bullet train to get there,” Abaya said.

The government still has to decide if it will be a public-private partnership project or one funded by official development assistance.

Currently, there is an existing Clark-Kuala Lumpur route that is operated Malaysia’s AirAsia (AK) flight code three times a week.

The company also said that during the fourth quarter ended December 2014, it provided financial assistance in the form of loans to its affiliate, AirAsia Inc., in the amount of $22.34 million, to facilitate the ordinary course of business of AirAsia Inc.

The financial assistance provided has no material effect on the share capital, shareholding structure or net assets of the company, it said.

The Manila Times, 02 March 2015
By Rosalie C. Periabras
 

APEC PPP Dialogue

PHOTO RELEASE
04 March 2015