PNR pursues deal to secure ‘air’ rights over train tracks
The Philippine National Railways (PNR) is pursuing a negotiated deal to secure the air rights over its train tracks in Metro Manila currently owned and being sold by the state-run Home Guaranty Corp.
PNR General Manager Junio Ragragrio said the HGC’s planned bidding for the air rights over 14 kilometers of train tracks from Caloocan to Makati may derail key infrastructure projects such as the planned “connector road” proposed by the group of Manuel V. Pangilinan.
“There’s a very good argument that the two (PNR and HGC) should have a settlement. It would be hard if we did not,” Ragragrio said.
Both the Paco (Mall) Station and the air rights were conveyed to HGC in exchange for assuming the guaranty obligations to investors in the 1996 Sariling Pabahay sa Riles housing project, a joint-venture project among PNR, National Housing Authority, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and New San Jose Builders Inc.
To recover HGC’s exposure, both properties, among other assets, have been slated for disposition through such schemes as outright sale or joint venture arrangements with private companies.
Several firms have expressed interest in acquiring the air rights, seeing its value in relation to the construction of an elevated expressway that would connect the Metro Manila Skyway and the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx).
These firms include the Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp., FF Cruz & Co. and MTD Malaysia.