Gov’t moves to address Laguna Lakeshore issues | Inquirer Business

Gov’t moves to address Laguna Lakeshore issues

/ 12:22 AM September 14, 2015

THE DEPARTMENT of Public Works and Highways is ironing out last-minute concerns on which government agency would handle the key land reclamation component of the massive Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike deal ahead of the Nov. 6, 2015 bid submission deadline.

The issue, described by some bidders as a potential complication that could affect the viability of the P123-billion public private partnership deal, was whether the reclamation will be handled by the Laguna Lake Development Authority or the Philippine Reclamation Authority.

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DPWH head of PPP Service Ariel Angeles said the agency was requesting Malacañang to ensure that the reclamation of 700 hectares of land in Laguna Lake would fall under the LLDA, as this would remove a layer of risk for bidders.

“We are seeking presidential proclamation that this will be under LLDA,” Angles said in an interview last week.

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He said this would remove any uncertainty on the part of the bidders, particularly with regards to the turnover of the reclaimed land, which was bundled as a sweetener in the PPP project that also included a 47-kilometer tollroad and a flood-control dike.

Risks at this stage need to be mitigated also because the Laguna Lakeshore deal would take about seven years to complete, Angeles said. This means the project would run well through the term of the next president.

“So far, we believe we have a sturdy position,” Angeles said.

Earlier, the National Economic and Development Authority Board approved certain changes in the terms, including allowing the original six-lane tollroad to be reduced to a four-lane expressway.

Bidders are worried that traffic at the expressway, which will link Taguig in Metro Manila and Los Baños, Laguna would be weak in the initial years of its commercial operations.

But there was a commitment to expand the tollroad to the original specification once traffic picks up, Angeles said.

Angles added that the DPWH was so far keeping the Nov. 6 bid submission deadline, which was extended from July 6 this year.

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The Laguna Lakeshore project is expected to draw bids from three groups. These are San Miguel Corp., via San Miguel Holdings Corp.; Trident Infrastructure and Development Corp., or Team Trident composed of Ayala Land Inc., SM Prime Holdings Inc., Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. and Megaworld Corp., and Alloy Pavi Hanshin LLEDP Consortium, composed of Malaysia’s MTD Group, South Korea’s Hanshin and the family of former Sen. Manuel Villar Jr.

The land reclamation part, as initially envisioned, would cover seven 100-hectare islands in Laguna Lake about 150-meters away from the shoreline of Taguig, Parañaque and Muntinlupa.

Initial perspectives showed that the tollroad would run on top of the flood control dike, which aims to mitigate flooding in the western coastal communities along Laguna Lake.

The DPWH described the flood control dike project as urgent. It would allow Metro Manila and nearby provinces to deal with natural calamities like Tropical Storm “Ondoy” in 2009.

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TAGS: Department of Public Works and Highways, Laguna Lakeshore Expressway
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