BCDA may build new Manila commuter rail

By Coco Alcuaz, ANC

Posted at Jul 21 2011 12:02 AM | Updated as of Jul 21 2011 08:54 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Bases Conversion and Development Authority said it's studying building a new Manila commuter that will include stops in Villamor Air Base, serving the airport, and Fort Bonifacio.

BCDA has the leeway to study this and other projects after it signed over the management of its Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) to Manila North Tollways Corp., freeing up its finances, Chairman Felicito Payumo told reporters. The agreement allows BCDA to pay the Japan International Cooperation Agency loan that funded the project.

The study for the elevated rail is in its initial stages, Payumo said. He said he still needs to talk with the Department of Transportation and the Metro Manila Development Authority about it.

Aside from Fort Bonifacio and the airport, the rail may have stops in Makati and the SM group's Mall of Asia on Manila Bay, Payumo said.

It may have connections with the MRT on EDSA and the LRT-1 on Taft Avenue, he said. It may also connect the Philippine National Railway line.

Payumo said he did not yet have an estimate for the project.

The SCTEX agreement revises one signed last year. BCDA sought the revision this year, drawing objections from MNTC, which is part of the Metro Pacific Investments Corp. group.

After the signing, Metro Pacific Chairman Manuel Pangilinan joked that he had advised his negotiators to "surrender'' to Payumo. "Tong (as Payumo is known) got the better end of this deal," he said.