3 PH-France infrastructure deals signed
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and France signed 3 big ticket investments on Thursday, February 26, the first day of French President Francois Hollande’s state visit to the Philippines.
In a business forum hosted by the Makati Business Club, Hollande said it is not enough that businesses make investments, they should also play a role in combating climate change.
“We need to generate a huge flow of investments in the years to come, hence the need for the business community to continue to invest. Climate change is not merely a duty but a trigger to generate green growth,” Hollande said through an interpreter.
Among the infrastructure projects signed by the Philippines and France are:
- Contract for the design and construction of Manila Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT1) Cavite extension project
- Agreement between the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) with the Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC) for the management, operation, and maintenance of the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX)
- Credit facility agreement for the Cebu BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) project
One of those ceremoniously signed during the business forum was the letter of award between the Light Rail Manila Consortium and Bouygues Travaux Publics and Alstom Transport, which is known for constructing mass rail transit systems in France and other parts of the world.
To be implemented under a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme, the LRT1 Cavite extension project involves the lengthening of the mass rail transit system’s line from 20.7 kilometers to 32.4 km, with a new south endpoint in Niog, Bacoor, Cavite. Approximately 10.5 km of the Cavite extension system will be elevated and 1.2 km will be at grade level. The extension project, worth P64.9 billion ($1.48-billion) will serve nearly 4 million residents of Parañaque, Las Piñas, and Cavite.
On February 20, lawyer Salvador Belaro Jr filed a petition with the Supreme Court to halt the LRT1 Cavite extension project, saying it will result in public debt of unfathomable magnitude, plus violations of the Constitution and the Build-Operate Transfer (BOT) Law.
The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and the Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC) signed the agreement for the management, operation, and maintenance of SCTEX in the presence of Presidents Benigno Aquino III and Hollande in Malacañang.
Under the agreement, MNTC will be assigned by BCDA all the latter’s rights, interests, and obligations for the 94-km SCTEX. The concession term is for 35 years or until October 30, 2043.
BCDA owns the SCTEX, the country’s longest expressway, which was financed through a P34-billion loan ($773.17 million) from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
As BCDA returned to MNTC the management, operation, and maintenance of SCTEX, the latter would pay BCDA P3.5 billion ($79.59 million). Both shall equally share the in the gross toll revenues.
Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency or AFD) Asia department head Pascaul Pacaut signed a credit facility agreement for the design, construction, and supervision of the Cebu bus rapid transit (BRT) project.
The AFD will provide loans amounting to $57.5 million, while the Cebu BRT project will be implemented by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), in coordination with the Cebu City government.
Also, a joint venture agreement was signed between RATP (Regie Autonome des Transports Parisiens) Dev and Transdev (RDTA) and Light Rail Manila Holdings 2 (LRMH 2) of Ayala Corporation and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) to bid for the operation and maintenance of LRT line 2.
RDTA is a joint venture created in 2009 to optimize transport development in Asia. The joint venture previously worked with the LRT1 consortium to support operations and maintenance of LRT1.
“We welcome these developments with pride as they only serve to reinforce our already invaluable economic partnership,” said Anthony Huang, chairman of the Philippines-France Business Council.
Hollande echoed this sentiment, saying that these partnerships contribute to building an alliance between not just businesses but between countries.
In his speech in Malacañang Thursday evening, Aquino lauded the participation of French companies in the government’s thrust to boost the state of local infrastructure and public transport.
Aquino also shared that he conveyed to Hollande the invitation for French companies to explore investing in the Philippines, particularly in the aerospace, IT-BPM, renewable energy, and infrastructure sectors. He cited Filipino workers' proven skills, loyalty, and drive necessary to spur any industry to success.
“Given the economic resurgence that our country has experienced these last few years, there is no more opportune time than today to invest in the Philippines. French companies, such as Teleperformance and Schneider Electric, both of which already have established operations, can attest to this. They chose to bet on the Filipino people, and that bet has paid off,” Aquino said. – Rappler.com
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