THE groundbreaking ceremony for the P3-billion intermodal terminal southwest of Metro Manila has been postponed, owing to conflict in the schedule of President Aquino.

In a media advisory, the transport department said the groundbreaking ceremony for the Integrated Transport System (ITS) Southwest Terminal has been moved to an unspecified date, as Aquino was not available on Friday.

“The southwest ITS groundbreaking today [Friday] is postponed [due to the conflict in the] availability of President Aquino,” the media advisory read.

Megawide Construction Corp. is the lead proponent for the public-private partnership (PPP) project, which is envisioned to be the transport terminal facility near the Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway.

In an interview on March 30 in Cebu, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya said Aquino is “quite busy campaigning for daang matuwid ticket.”

Abaya clarified that he was referring to Liberal Party presidential candidate Manuel A. Roxas II. Abaya was answering to a BusinessMirror query on the schedule of the groundbreaking ceremony for the Metro Rail Transit 7.

Referring to the rail facility, he said the “groundbreaking is purely ceremonial” and that “it’s unfair to say that he is prioritizing the campaign over” infrastructure projects.

A quick check on Malacañang’s media bureau showed that Aquino was scheduled to attend the retirement ceremony of the chief of staff of the Armed Forces, to attend a security cluster meeting at the defense department’s headquarters in Quezon City. He also has a meeting with local leaders in Antipolo.

It will take about two years before MWM Terminals, the partnership between Megawide and Walter Mart Property Management Inc., commercially opens. The terminal will connect passengers coming from the Cavite side to other transport systems, such as the future Light Rail Transit Line 1 South Extension, city bus, taxi and other public-utility vehicles that are serving inner Metro Manila.

The project will include passenger terminal buildings, arrival and departure bays; public information systems; ticketing and baggage handling facilities; and park-ride facilities.

MWM Terminals will also hold the right to operate and maintain the whole facility. It can also undertake commercial development and collect revenues generated from the same.

The deal, won by the consortium in April 2015 under the Aquino administration’s PPP scheme, has a concession period of 35 years.

Since 2010 various implementing agencies have awarded 12 PPP contracts to the private partners, more than the combined six solicited projects awarded during the past three administrations.

The government is currently tendering off 13 key infrastructure projects, which include five regional airports, a prison facility, a port modernization and water project, two information- technology projects, and three rail projects.