Gov’t seeks control of air rights over PNR train tracks
HGC to be compensated, Roxas saysBy Paolo G. Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Malacañang is set to issue an executive order (EO) for the transfer of ownership to the government of air rights over Philippine National Railways (PNR) train tracks from Caloocan to Makati.
The air rights are currently held by Home Guaranty Corp. (HGC).
The order aims to protect the “connector road” project, which would be built over the PNR’s train tracts as proposed by the group of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan.
“There will be an EO to transfer the rights back to the national government,” Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas told reporters on Thursday.
In a press conference, Roxas said that aside from the “connector road,” the air rights would also be used for the government’s planned construction of a Chinese-funded high-speed rail line from Metro Manila to Pampanga.
Roxas explained that the HGC acquired the PNR’s air rights after the former funded the clearing of debris and illegal settlers along the train tracks from Makati to Caloocan.
“The HGC will be compensated for the air rights,” Roxas said.
The HGC earlier wanted to bid out the air rights to private companies, which was seen as a potential threat to the MPIC project.
The HGC is an agency attached to the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, headed by Vice President Jejomar Binay. Roxas lost to Binay in the 2010 elections.
The MPIC connector road, which will connect the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) and Metro Manila Skyway to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), passing through Manila’s port district, was one of two major tollroad projects approved by Malacañang this week.
The other was the continuation of Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corp.’s (CMMTC) franchise for the construction of a similar connector road that would link Skyway with NLEx via Quezon City. CMMTC’s proposal will no longer need to undergo a public bidding since the new extension was covered by its existing franchise.
MPIC’s offer, considered an unsolicited bid, will still have to undergo a “Swiss” challenge where other interested parties will be given a chance to submit better offers.
Roxas said both projects would result in P60 billion worth of investments in the country. The projects are expected to employ 8,000 people each.
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