San Miguel Corp. said the construction of a mass rail transit system from Quezon City to Bulacan province is set to be completed by 2019.

“There’s some delays in the right of way delivery, but we expect it to complete by 2019,” San Miguel president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said.

The P69.3-billion MRT 7 project, which will have 14 stations, is being built by SMC Mass Rail Transit 7 Inc. under SMC’s infrastructure subsidiary San Miguel Holdings Inc.

Once the MRT-7 is built, it would take only 30 minutes to commute from North Ave. in Quezon City to San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan, compared to the current two-hour travel time.

The project also has a road component―a 23-kilometer stretch that would start at the Balagtas Interchange of North Luzon Expressway and end in an intermodal terminal in San Jose Del Monte.

This will provide provincial buses with an alternate route to San Jose and will help decongest Edsa.

Construction of MRT 7 was delayed because of the proponents’ failure to secure a performance undertaking from the Finance Department.

A performance undertaking represents a recognition of the obligation of the Philippine government through the Transportation Department under the concession agreement, particularly the remittance of semi-annual amortization in favor of the Universal LRT Corp., the original proponent of the project that is now controlled by San Miguel.

The Transportation Department and ULC signed the contract to build the railway in 2008. San Miguel though San Miguel Holdings is now a majority-owner of ULC.

San Miguel Holdings executed a share sale and purchase agreement in October 2010 to acquire 51 percent of ULC from the group of businessman Salvador Zamora II.

San Miguel tapped Hyundai Rotem and EEI consortium to build the railway line composed of 14 stations at North Ave., Quezon Memorial Circle, University Avenue, Tandang Sora, Don Antonio, Batasan, Manggahan, Doña Carmen, Regalado, Mindanao Avenue, Quirino, Sacred Heart, Tala and San Jose del Monte.

San Miguel will also build a depot in San Jose del Monte that will house a control center, administrative offices, warehouse and facilities for train cars.

08 June 2017
By Darwin G. Amojelar