Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Agreement on Location of LRT1, MRT3, and MRT7 Common Station Signed

Wazzup Pilipinas!

An agreement identifying a single location for a Common Station geared to provide a seamless intermodal connectivity between LRT Line 1, MRT Line 3, and the proposed MRT Line 7 has been signed earlier today, ending an impasse over the seven-year old railway project.

This event is considered as a milestone agreement between the government and private sectors, proving that indeed, full cooperation between public and private entities may greatly contribute to providing an efficient service to the nation.

According to Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade, gaining mutual agreement amongst the major shareholders on building the Common Station is something that he once thought would be difficult, but was proven wrong by the private sectors’ expression of support to the government.

“I remember very well before I assumed the position, I was advised that one of the most difficult agenda I will tackle was the issue of a common station… And lo and behold, they are all here, showing their oneness and support on something that can bring good fruit not only to the business but more importantly to the country,” he said.

The agreement was signed by DOTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, Secretary Mark Villar of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SMPHI) President Hans Sy, Vice Chairman of the North Triangle Depot Commercial Corporation and Chairman of Ayala Land, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) President Ramon Ang, Light Rail Manila Consortium (LRMC) Vice Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, and Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) Deputy Administrator Emerson Benitez.

Convenience to commuters is top concern

Commuters’ convenience is top concern in finalizing details of the Common Station’s engineering design, wherein train commuters can conveniently transfer from one line to another via the common concourse or atrium.

The DPWH assures that the vehicular underpass currently being designed to decongest the North Ave. – EDSA intersection will be built to seamlessly integrate with the Common Station.
It was made clear in the event that the final site of a Common Station will be between SM North EDSA and Trinoma malls, and that all parties will meet again to finalize its engineering design.

Just before the signing, Secretary Tugade and the shareholders agreed to set target date at the end of this year for the ground breaking. Completion is between two and a half to three years after the ground breaking.

“There’s difference between signing and doing, but apparently we have come to an agreement. Assuming that the architectural and engineering designs are done and agreed with, hopefully we can ground break before the end of this year,” Tugade said.

Sign of good things to come

Sec. Tugade expressed his sincerest gratitude to the shareholders for coming together and agreeing to reach a compromise in the name of public service. “I thank you all for trusting this government. I thank you all for believing. But more importantly, I thank you all for giving us a chance to do something,” he said during the signing in Makati. “For so long as there is mutual trust, a lot will be given and a lot will be taken. And I think it’s all about trust and believing in the government.”

For his part, Hans Sy, president of SMPHI said “We’re participating to show our good faith, and to express that we support programs that are geared to benefit the public.”

Speaking for ALI, Jaime Zobel de Ayala added that he is looking forward to participating in more government projects and working together with other businessmen. “It’s a pleasure for us to be one participant together with these other groups in making this critical component and critical junction for three railway systems to come together.

I think if we can continue to cooperate and coordinate this way there are many other things that we can take down,” he said.

Ramon Ang of SMC also expressed his gratitude for the initiatives taken by the DOTr Secretary. “I’d like to thank Secretary Tugade’s effort and leadership to finally put everybody together and make this thing happen,” he said.

“Very beneficial to the public,” said MPIC chairman and LRMC vice-chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, “especially that this has been delayed for years now,” he added.

Reaching an agreement

Upon assumption into office, Sec. Tugade vowed to get all shareholders agree on a single location for the Common Station within his first 100 days. It was during a Sept. 8 meeting with the country’s top CEOs that an agreement was reached.

The Common Station project started in 2009 but has been put on hold since. The LRT Authority initially inked a deal with SMPHI to build the station near SM North EDSA. Five years later, the DOTC decided to build the Station near Ayala’s Trinoma citing reasons to cut costs. The Supreme Court (SC) intervened and issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in favor of SMPHI to stop the construction of the Common Station.

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