DOTC says it is ready to defend its position
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - Mall developer SM Prime has sought the intervention of a local court to stop the government from awarding and transferring the proposed common station linking the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 and Light Rail Transit Line 1 near Ayala Land's Trinoma mall.
In its 12-page petition filed before the Pasay regional trial court, SM Prime also asked the court to have the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) management comply with its earlier agreement with SM Prime.
"The proposed Common Station in front of SM North EDSA was duly approved by the NEDA-ICC as a priority infrastructure project in 2007. It was formally confirmed by the NEDA Board and the Cabinet on July 7, 2009," the company in its petition said.
In 2009, the DOTC and LRTA chose SM North EDSA as the site of the proposed common station. The common station would serve as an interconnection platform for all LRT 1 trains which travel from Baclaran to Monumento, the MRT 3 servicing the stretch of EDSA and the proposed MRT 7 envisioned to run from Caloocan and to parts of Quezon City such as Lagro, Fairview, Novaliches and Batasan.
SM Prime then paid P200 million to the Light Transit Authority for naming rights for the proposed station.
In 2013, the DOTC transferred the common train station site to the area near Trinoma mall, citing savings for the government of P1 billion.
SM though, can still keep its name of "SM Station" despite the planned transfer to Ayala-owned Trinoma mall.
However, SM Prime noted that the DOTC had "unilaterally" transferred the location of the common station to Trinoma mall, in disregard of its existing memorandum of agreement.
It also noted that the common station was now included as a component of the LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension Project, which was bid out last week. The consortium of Ayala, Metro Pacific Investments Corp and Macquarie Group had submitted the only bid for the P65 billion PPP project.
Sought for comment, DOTC spokesperson Michael Sagcal said its legal department is now reviewing the provisions of the memorandum of agreement between LRTA and SM.
"We have yet to receive a copy of SM's complaint, but we will be ready to defend our position in court. In any case, NEDA has approved the construction of the common station next to the EDSA-North Avenue station of MRT-3. The Common Station will connect the MRT-3, LRT-1, and future MRT-7 lines for more convenient transfers for their passengers," Sagcal said.