MVP to abide by gov't wishes if MRT-3 buyout pushed

Posted at 10/23/2012 6:19 PM | Updated as of 10/24/2012 11:11 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, whose company claims a controlling stake in Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC), said he will respect government decision should it decide to de-privatize the MRT line 3 (MRT-3).

"It is best that we wait for the official advice of the DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communications). Whatever the government's decision might be on MRT3, we will respect and abide by it," Pangilinan said.

His comment came after the DOTC on Monday revealed the government's intent to take full control of the MRT-3 before bidding out a contract for the system's operation and maintenance (O&M).

Pangilinan is chairman of the Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), which has earlier claimed a "controlling stake" in MRTC, the consortium that built the MRT-3.

In 2011, MPIC has also submitted a $300-million proposal to the government, meant to expand the capacity of the MRT-3.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya on Monday said the government's plan to buy out the private sector's stake in the MRT-3 will mean the former will no longer need to pay MRTC huge fees every year. The DOTC annually pays the MRTC for equity rental payments, maintenance cost, debt guaranteed payment, insurance expenses, and others.

The government, through the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines, has an 80% economic or beneficial stake in the MRT-3, but the private sector holds majority of the voting rights.

Abaya has said the proposal has been presented to President Benigno Aquino III and some cabinet members. After taking full control of the MRT-3, Abaya said the DOTC plans to bid out the operation and maintenance of the system.