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SMC airport, Megawide rail projects move up

Three unsolicited project proposals for rail, airport and flood control are expected to hurdle regulatory approval and rolled out early this year, having been identified as priority infrastructure projects, the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center said.

These private sector-initiated projects include the East West Rail Project of East West Rail Corp and Alloy MTD Group; New Manila International Airport Project in Bulacan of San Miguel Corp. (SMC); and Manila Bay Integrated Flood Control, Coastal Defense and Expressway Project forwarded by Coastal Development Consortium.

PPP Center director Jeffrey Manalo said these projects were granted original proponent status by the implementing agencies before being submitted to the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) for approval – indicating these projects are worth pursuing and are in line with the administration’s infrastructure development strategy.

“(These) are undergoing evaluation by the ICC – meaning these are the ones that have been given original proponent status by the agencies and have forwarded it to the ICC for evaluation,” he said.

Of the three proposals put forward by the private sector, the rail projects and the airport projects are seen as more urgent projects.

“Of the three, the more active ones in terms of the ongoing discussion at the ICC level that would be the East West Rail Project and the New Manila International Airport,” said Manalo.

PPP Center director for project development Lawrence Velasco said government hopes to be able to subject these projects to a Swiss challenge, in which third parties are urged to match or outdo the proposal.

“After approval by ICC, it goes to negotiations and then Swiss challenge,” he said.

The East West Rail project, which was endorsed by the Philippine National Railways (PNR), entails the construction and operation for 30 years of a nine-kilometer, 11-station elevated Light Rail Transit (LRT) line that would traverse Diliman, Quezon City to Lerma, Manila.

SMC’s P700-billion international airport in Bulacan will cover 2,500 hectares of which 1,168 hectares will be an airport complex while the remaining 1,332 hectares will serve as a city complex. The gateway can be completed in six years upon approval.

The Manila Bay Flood Control project, meanwhile, involves the construction of a sea barrier and flood control system along Manila Bay together with an expressway that would link Metro Manila to Bataan.

PPP Center executive director Ferdinand Pecson said these big-ticket projects initiated by the private sector should have no problems hurdling the approval process so long as these conform with the rules set for unsolicited proposals such as non-provision of subsidies or guarantees.

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