'Makati subway project shows opportunity in Build Build Build'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 19 2019 12:14 AM

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The Makati subway project being developed by a private consortium should inspire more firms to participate in the multi-trillion peso 'Build Build Build' program of the government, the subway's consortium lead said. 

Antonio Tiu, president of Philippine Infradev Holdings Inc., said the unsolicited mega project demonstrated that numerous avenues are open to local and foreign firms looking to capitalize on the government’s determination to address the national infrastructure deficit. Tiu, whose group heads the Makati subway consortium, said this on the OBG Talk segment of Early Edition. 

“I believe in every crisis there's an opportunity, and in the Philippines at the moment we are almost in a chaotic transport situation,” Tiu said. 

To date, the Duterte administration has shown a preference for using public funds and official development assistance (ODA) to finance big ticket projects under its flagship 'Build Build Build' infrastructure initiative. However, the Makati subway illustrates the key role unsolicited proposals and the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) model can play in delivering major projects, Tiu suggested. 

“The private sector can drive things with more flexibility and more accountability and at a faster speed,” Tiu said. 

The Tiu-led consortium pitched its proposal for the project directly to the Makati City government. 

“My own experience is that talking to a local government is a lot faster than talking to a lot of national agencies. I think directly working with an LGU (local government unit) may be a faster route, and then you evolve to become a national player,” he said, adding that he saw no logistical or regulatory difficulties in integrating the Makati subway project with other transit projects overseen by the national government.

“I would like to really stress that this [national] government is open to foreign investment and our project. We are planning it in a way that it will link directly with the national transport network,” he added. 

The groundbreaking ceremony for the USD3.7-billion project was held in December and the Makati City government expects it to be fully functional by 2023

The 10-station train system spans 10 kilometers with stops in key points around Makati, the business hub of the capital. The system's initial 12 coaches will serve 27,000 passengers per hour, per direction and as many as 40,000 during peak hours.

-- Patrick Cooke, Oxford Business Group