by Ben R. Rosario
Parties in the memorandum of agreement (MOA) for a P2.8-billion mass transit common terminal will have to convince Congress how the riding public and the country will benefit from the deal that will benefit the two biggest shopping malls in Quezon City that have competed intensely for control of the commercial windfall of the infrastructure.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said the House of Representatives will conduct its own review of the MOA signed by key government departments and owners of the country’s largest consumer retail businesses recently.
The agreement sealed by government and the top corporations grants the private firms benefits in the use of the common terminal linking the Light Railway Transit Line 1 and the Metro Rail Transit Lines 1 and 7 which would cost the government an estimated P2.8 billion.
In a radio interview, Alvarez said the Lower House will have to review the MOA to determine the guarantees that would benefit the riding public and the Filipino people.
He said the congressional review is also significant in ensuring that public interest will prevail over the business concerns of the private firms that have insisted in getting involved in the project.
It will be recalled that the MOA was signed last Wednesday by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Public Works Secretary Mark Villar with LRT Authority Administrator Reynaldo Berroya, SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) executive chairman Hans Sy, Light Rail Manila Corp. vice chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang and North Triangle Depot Commercial Corp. (NTDCC) represented by Ayala Land Inc. vice chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala.
“Hindi magandang balita yan, dahil masyadong malaki yung cost. Ngayon ang tanong, yung proposal ba doon sa common stations ay yun ba ang para sa convenience ng passengers? (That’s not good news because of the huge cost involved. We now ask if this proposal will ensure public convenience?),” Alvarez said.