SAN MIGUEL Corp. President Ramon S. Ang vowed to open Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 7 in two years, despite hitting roadblocks in terms of the delivery of right-of-way early on.

In a chance interview, Ang said his group is doing its best to finish the construction of the new overhead-railway facility by 2019, even as it awaits the complete delivery of the remaining easement.

“We will finish it by around 2019. We have quite a few delays in right-of-way delivery. But we have received the majority of it. We are now continuously building it, and it is now fully funded,” Ang said.

As of February 10, the project is 5-percent complete, data from the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center showed. The P62.7-billion deal, signed in 2008, has two components: rail and road.

The rail component of the MRT 7 project involves the construction of a 22.8-kilometer rail-transit system envisioned to operate 108 rail cars in a three-car train configuration with a daily passenger capacity ranging from 448,000 to 850,000.

MRT 7 will have 14 stations, starting with the North Avenue Station on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, passing through Commonwealth Avenue, Regalado Avenue and Quirino Highway, up to the proposed Intermodal Transport Terminal in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan. The company will also supply the trains to be deployed in the facility. It will also supply the communications, signal and electric requirements of the railway line.

The road component of the project, meanwhile, involves the construction of a six-lane access road from San Jose del Monte to the Balagtas, Bulacan North Luzon Expressway exit. It took all the stakeholders seven years before finally closing the deal.

The 25-year-concession agreement betweenUniversal LRT Corp. (ULC) and the government was signed in 2008, but was delayed owing to the proponent’s failure to secure financial closure.

San Miguel Holdings Corp. owns a 51-percent controlling stake in ULC. The conglomerate has tapped the South Korean consortium of Hyundai Rotem Co. and EEI Corp. for the engineering, procurement and construction requirements of the train line. The deal is the largest the South Korean company has ever made in the Philippines.

08 June 2017
By Lorenz S. Marasigan