DOTC invites financial sector to participate in CAPEX projects to pump prime local economy

A February 15, 2012 press release from the Department of Transportation and Communications

With the growing business confidence brought about by the good governance and honest leadership of the Aquino government, Department of Transportation and Communications secretary Mar Roxas today encouraged the country’s financial sector to continue investing on various transportation infrastructure projects to pump prime the economy.

“Due to the advent of clean and honest governance under President PNoy, there is a new vibrancy in the business community that is rooted in greater confidence to invest money and thereby create jobs, incomes, and livelihood that people can benefit from,” Roxas told top financial, business, and corporate executives during the Financial Executives of the Philippines (FINEX) general membership meeting at the Intercon Hotel in Makati.

Roxas provided the executives an overview of the status of key government projects to allow interested investors to prepare, and possibly participate, in the current administration’s private–public partnership scheme.

Capital expenditure (CAPEX) projects that the government is putting out for bidding this year include the operations and maintenance of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) 1 expansion project, a 12-km, P60-B civil works rail construction to extend the Baclaran train services to Bacoor, Cavite, and the construction of the P4.46B Puerto Princesa international airport and the Laguindingan airport in Misamis Oriental.

Dubbed as the “Green Line,” Roxas told the FINEX audience that the Baclaran to Cavite line, set for bidding in April, will serve about 40,000 passengers a day, once completed.

Roxas also enticed the financial sector to brace for the forthcoming LRT/Metro Rail Transit Common Ticketing System project, which will have e-banking features to allow card owners to use the automated teller machine (ATM)-like train card to purchase items in department and convenience stores.

“We will bid out a Common Ticketing System Project, a design-build-operate-and-maintain project, under the BOT Law. This will roughly have a market of one million passengers a day, for the Yellow, Green, and Blue train lines,” Roxas said.

The concept is similar to Hong Kong’s Octopus stored value ticket with a microchip that allows the owner of the ticket to top up the value of the ticket once it runs out of value. The ticket is similar to an ATM card, which can be used to purchase items in convenience stores.

Roxas said that a survey on current smart card technology is now being conducted about the project. Once the study is complete, the project will be put out to bid, sometime mid this year. As the ticket will have an e-banking component on it, Roxas said the bidder must partner with local financial institutions, telecom and technology organizations, and retail outlets where the card can be used to purchase items and services besides train rides.

“We have plannned to get the private sector to finance the rolling stocks of our rail projects, for instance the O&M of most of our land, air, and sea projects,” Roxas said. “Our PPP program in these projects will be enhanced by our efforts to tap ODA funds to hasten their implementation.”

Roxas reiterated that all these projects strictly follow President Aquino’s policy mandate of the 5Rs—“Right project, Right quality, Right people, Right cost, and Right on time.”

During the open forum, Roxas also addressed a question about the future of the Ninoy Aquino International Ariport (NAIA) Terminal 3.

“The government is taking the next concrete step to fully operationalize NAIA Terminal 3 following the decision of Singapore High Court late last year to uphold the ruling of the International Chamber of Commerce’s arbitration tribunal dismissing the petition of Piatco for compensation,” he said.

Roxas said he is set to meet with Takenaka Corp., the original contractor that built Terminal 3, to discuss the delivery of 23 airport systems that would hasten the full operation of the airport.

Among the issues that Roxas said he will discuss in the meeting with the Japanese contractor is the reduction of the differential costs of the systems from the initial cost of $40 million to $10 million.