SM group lukewarm on proposed ‘mini’ LRT-MRT common station
MANILA, Philippines – SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) of retail and banking magnate Henry Sy is lukewarm on the proposal of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to put up a “mini” train station in front of SM North EDSA.
The DOTC has yet to formally inform the company about the proposal, SMPHI executive vice president Jeffrey Lim told reporters on Wednesday, August 6.
SMPHI legal counsel Ryan San Juan also said, “We have not received any specific proposal from the DOTC and cannot comment on that matter. We only got to know about the DOTC plan from the media. Our position, as expressed in our statement last week, and in the cases we filed, thus stands.”
The DOTC is proposing to build a mini station for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) in front of SM as a “win-win” solution to a legal case involving the P1.4-billion ($32.03 million*) LRT-MRT common station packaged into the P65-billion ($1.49 billion) LRT 1 Cavite extension project. SMPHI is contesting the decision of the government to build the common station in front Ayala-owned Trinoma mall instead of SM North EDSA as initially agreed on. (READ: Why SM is after the MRT-LRT common station)
The Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order preventing the DOTC and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) from transferring the common station to Trinoma.
Lim said the Supreme Court validates the position of SMPHI. He reiterated that the company has a valid memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the LRTA. Under the MOA signed by the parties in 2009, SMPHI paid the government P200 million for naming rights to the common station. The MOA also stated that the station would be located in front of SM North EDSA.
“We have an agreement with them and we hope they will honor that agreement that we had in 2009,” Lim said.
The mini station would be a “win-win” for all, DOTC Secretary Joseph Abaya earlier said.
According to him, the mini station in front of the SM North EDSA would serve the LRT 1 as well as MRT 7 of diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation, while the common station in front of Trinoma would serve LRT 1 and MRT 3.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency is conducting a study to make sure that the traffic of the 3 mass transit systems would not be affected by the mini station, Abaya said.
The DOTC is also carefully studying the impact of the TRO issued by the Supreme Court.
The agency has appealed to SMPHI to withdraw the case it filed, saying it is delaying the award of the LRT 1 Cavite extension project to the Light Rail Manila Consortium of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation and Ayala Corporation. – Rappler.com
*($1 = P43.72)