MANILA, Philippines – The P56 billion budget for the government takeover of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) is included in the 2014 national budget, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said Wednesday.
Transportation Sec. Jun Abaya said the amount is already available as part of the P2.265 trillion national budget for 2014.
“The P56 billion is okay. It is in the 2014 national budget,” Abaya said, adding that the Department of Finance (DOF), through National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon, will finalize the details of the proposed takeover.
“There are still small things left. Clearly from DOTC, we are much better off executing the buyout otherwise legally there is something always lingering in your mind,” he said.
One issue to be ironed out, according to Abaya, is if the government still needs consent from the equity holders of Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC), led by infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC)
“But apparently they are doing an arbitration even during the time of our predecessors,” Abaya added.
President Aquino ordered the takeover on March 2013, directing the DOF and DOTC to buyout MRT-3 from MRTC pursuant to a build-lease-transfer (BLT) agreement.
The proposed takeover will benefit LandBank and DBP in unloading their interest in MRT-3.
It will also mean that the government will no longer have to pay MRTC equity rental payments, maintenance cost, debt guaranteed payment, insurance expenses, and other fees.
Aside from saving billions of pesos, Abaya said MRT-3’s operation and maintenance will be made easier with the takeover.