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Ruling on Makati-Taguig case hits Philippine Infradev subway project

PHILIPPINE Infradev Holdings, Inc. said the alignment of the planned $3.7-billion Makati City subway is no longer feasible after the recent decision of the Supreme Court (SC) mandating some areas covered by the project to be under Taguig City’s jurisdiction. 

“Under the joint venture (JV) agreement executed between the Makati City government and the company, the depot and a few stations of the Makati City subway system will be in the affected areas. Also, the alignment of the subway will no longer be feasible,” Philippine Infradev said in a stock exchange disclosure on Wednesday.

Philippine Infradev said that it sent an intent notice to the Makati City government to propose discussions after the change in law with the SC decision.

“Please be informed that pursuant to the recent SC decision, some areas previously within the jurisdiction of Makati City were found to be within the jurisdiction of Taguig City instead,” the company said.

“We will advise the Philippine Stock Exchange and the Securities and Exchange Commission for any further material developments on the matter,” it added.

In October 2018, the Makati City government awarded the project to Philippine Infradev, followed by the project’s groundbreaking ceremony in December 2018. 

The SC previously ruled that Fort Bonifacio and the Enlisted Men’s Barrios or the so-called “EMBO” barangays are under the jurisdiction of Taguig City.

The 10-kilometer project, which has 10 stations, was projected to be fully operational by 2025. It aims to link Ayala Ave. to the area of Ospital ng Makati through about a 15-minute trip.

In a separate statement, transport advocacy network The Passenger Forum (TPF) said the Taguig City government should be included in the JV between the Makati City government and Philippine Infradev.

“Commuters are really looking forward to having a subway in the heart of the busiest district in the country. If this requires including Taguig into the project, so be it. If this necessitates another JVA (joint venture agreement) with Taguig, Infradev should do it and do it fast,” TPF Convener Primo V. Morillo said.

“Infradev’s disclosure mentions something about their intent to start discussions with the LGU (local government unit) of Makati in light of the SC decision to grant some former Makati territories to Taguig City. We hope that they will find a workable solution as this is a very important mass transportation project and about 700,000 passengers are expected to ride and benefit from this subway on a daily basis,” he added.

According to Mr. Morillo, negotiating with the Taguig City government also opens the possibility of an expansion to BGC.

“Persuading Taguig to be part of this project is a crucial task for Infradev and expanding into BGC may just do the job. In our view, it may even push the daily ridership closer to a million commuters making it more efficient and helpful in our dreams to solve Metro Manila’s transport woes. We appeal to the good mayors of Makati and Taguig to cooperate for the sake of the commuting public and the nation,” Mr. Morillo said.

Mr. Morillo added that the Transportation department or the Metro Manila Development Authority should take over on the government side if the cities of Makati and Taguig will not “cooperate.”

“This is another way to save the project and it could even make the project better as it can go beyond the boundaries of those two cities,” Mr. Morillo said.

BusinessWorld sought the comment of a representative from the Makati City government but had not received a response as of the press deadline.

Shares of Philippine Infradev at the local bourse dropped six centavos or 10.34% on Wednesday to close at 52 centavos apiece. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Neil Banzuelo

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