MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is expediting the award of the P65 billion Light Rail Transit line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite extension project amid the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court on the transfer of the planned common train station.
Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the agency is closely coordinating with the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) on how to go about with the awarding of the public private partnership (PPP) project without going against the order of the high tribunal.
“We are expediting, we are engaging them and we expressed to them that it is to the interest of the country that we are doing this.” Abaya said.
The DOTC has yet to award the largest PPP project under the Aquino administration due to the TRO issued by the Supreme Court preventing the DOTC and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) from transferring the location of the proposed P1.4 billion common train station.
“We are studying it thoroughly, because if you will check the TRO, the restraint is on the common station, not on the award. So this is the biggest PPP project of our agency and we are looking at the possibility of awarding despite the TRO,” Abaya said.
While waiting for an opinion from the OSG, the agency is studying the possibility of awarding the contract for the PPP project on the condition that the location of the common station is subject to the decision of the high tribunal.
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“It (legal opinion from OSG) will give us legal cover,” Abaya said.
Abaya earlier stood by the decision of the DOTC to put up the proposed Metro Rail Transit – Light Rail Transit (MRT-LRT) common station in front of the Trinoma Mall instead of SM City North EDSA.
“It is clear in the contract and our view is still the same that it should be in Trinoma,” he said in Filipino earlier.
The DOTC chief said the agency continues to look for a “win-win” solution that would appease SM Prime Holdings Inc. after it secured a TRO from the Supreme Court.
The agency is looking at the possibility of putting up a “mini station” in front of SM City North EDSA to house both the LRT-1 and the proposed P63 billion MRT-7 of diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. while the common station in front of Trinoma would house both LRT-1 and MRT-3.
The design of the common station was bundled in the bidding for the P65 billion LRT-1 Cavite extension project wherein Light Rail Manila Consortium was the lone bidder.