MANILA, Philippines – The bidding for the P60-billion rail project that will connect Cavite and capital Manila is slated for April 2013 while the start of construction is in January 2014.
On Monday, September 24, President Aquino himself announced these target schedules for the bidding of the design, construction, and operation of the Light Rail Transit line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite extension project, which outgoing Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas once described as the “largest single ticket in [the] infrastructure portfolio of President Benigno Aquino.”
“I have another good news,” President Aquino told political allies in Cavite, joking about hitting traffic in Cavite if he ever plans to honeymoon in nearby Tagaytay City. Referring to LRT-1 extension project, he then added: “but this one I am more sure of.”
“The NEDA Board approved last March the LRT-1 Cavite Extension. We allocated P60 billion for this project. We expect that bidding will be finished by April 2013 and the construction to start by January 2014,” he said.
Previously, the LRT-1 Cavite project was included in the list of public-private partnership (PPP) projects slated to be rolled out this 2012, following the much-criticized delays in the infrastructure projects under its PPP scheme in 2011.
At the recent 2012 Economic Briefing, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said PPP projects are expected to roll out at a faster pace now that the government has already cleared bottlenecks. “We’ll launch at least 8 projects this year. We’ve resolved most of the bottlenecks already.”
In the original timetable for this rail project, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) was set to award the project in the “second quarter of 2013.”
However, that was based on a timetable that set the deadline for the companies that purchased pre-qualification documents to submit their requirements by August 22. This date has since been moved to September 28 “to give more time (for the bidders) to prepare the qualification documents,” the DOTC previously explained.
President Aquino told the audience in Cavite, however, that he is banking on incoming Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, whom he praised profusely at the Cavite event, to meet these target dates.
“Because Jun Abaya, who is from Cavite, will eventually take over at DOTC, the project may be completed earlier. I will not complain if that is the case, but I will sulk if this will take longer to finish,” President Aquino said.
Abaya, currently on his last term as a lawmaker at the House of Representatives, is expected to take over the DOTC post by mid-October.
President Aquino, Roxas and Abaya are with the ruling Liberal Party.
The railway project will extend the existing 20.7-kilometer (km) LRT Line 1 system, which runs from Roosevelt Ave in Quezon City to Baclaran in Paranaque, by an additional 11.7 km southwards to Bacoor, Cavite.
Once completed, the new line will increase ridership of LRT1 from 500,000 to 700,000 passengers per day thus provide faster and more convenient alternative to residents of Cavite, Las Pinas and Paranaque. – Rappler.com