The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) is currently scrutinizing at least three major unsolicited infrastructure projects, including a new rail line that will run parallel to the country’s first subway.

In an interview over the weekend, Neda Undersecretary for Investment Programming Rolando G. Tungpalan said the new rail line, the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 10, will connect Commonwealth to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).

“MRT 10 [will be on] Commonwealth, [run perpendicular to] MRT 7 in Tandang Sora, and pass by Katipunan up to FTI [Food Terminal Inc.], even the Naia. It will be parallel to the [Metro Manila] Subway,” Tungpalan said.

Transportation Undersecretary Ruben S. Reinoso told the BusinessMirror that C5 Mass Transit Corp. Ltd. proposed the railway.

Reinoso said the company’s local partner is George Uy, one of the original proponents of MRT 7 before San Miguel Corp. took over the project, while the foreign partner is construction firm Sumitomo.

He said the MRT 10 will also be a build-operate-transfer initiative, similar to the MRT 7 which the government will amortize for 25 to 30 years and the proponent will operate for the next 30 to 35 years.

Reinoso added that the government will also have a share in the revenues of the MRT 10. He added that even if the railway will run parallel to the Metro Manila Subway, the company believes it will remain financially viable.

“There is so much traffic on that corridor,” Reinoso said. “Their worst-case scenario is that 10 percent their riders will shift to the Subway. Even at that rate, they said, the line will remain financially viable.”

Based on Public Private Partnership (PPP) Center data, the MRT 10 project involves the design, building, operation and maintenance of the approximately 22.5-kilometer mostly elevated Light Railway Transit (LRT) System consisting of 16 stations.

The railway will traverse the circumferential road C-5 connecting the Naia Terminal 3 to Quezon City, terminating at Commonwealth Avenue with possible interchange with MRT 7 at Tandang Sora Station and LRT Line 2 at Aurora Station. Trains will be stabled at the depot to be built at the UP property in Diliman, Quezon City.

Tungpalan said the other unsolicited proposals being reviewed by the Neda include the Skytrain in Bonifacio Global City and the East West Rail connecting Quezon City and Manila.

The P3.52-billion Fort Bonifacio-Makati Skytrain Project is a 1.873-kilometer monorail system connecting Fort Bonifacio and Edsa Guadalupe.

The project was proposed by Infracorp Development Inc., the company led by real-estate magnate, Andrew Tan. Tan is known for Megaworld developments such as Eastwood City.

The East West Rail, meanwhile, is a 9.4-kilometer railway line from Diliman, Quezon City, to Lerma, Manila, which includes interconnecting facilities with neighboring rail systems.

Tungpalan said the the line will start either in Philcoa or Quezon City Hall and traverse Quezon Avenue and España to reach Lerma, Manila.

The project is proposed by East-West Rail Corp. and AlloyMTD which is a consortium of the A Brown Co. Inc. and MTD Philippines, a subsidiary of infrastructure conglomerate AlloyMTD of Malaysia.

Bulacan airport
Tungpalan also said the Bulacan airport proposed by San Miguel Corp. is at the “most advanced stages” of all the unsolicited projects being evaluated at the Neda.

He said even if the project has been approved by the Neda Board in April, this approval did not include the concession agreement.

Tungpalan said the concession agreement is still being negotiated and will also be submitted to the Neda Board for approval.

He said another project, the Naia Consortium’s rehabilitation of the country’s primary gateway, has not yet been submitted to the Neda.

The Neda Board is the country’s premier social and economic development planning and policy coordinating body, the powers and functions of the Neda reside in the Neda Board.

It is composed of the President as the chairman, the socioeconomic planning secretary as vice chairman, and the following as members: the Executive Secretary, the Cabinet Secretary, the finance secretary and the budget secretary.

By Cai Ordinario
October 1, 2018