Congressman seeks probe of LRT-1 contract

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A CONGRESSMAN will seek an investigation of an allegedly onerous concession agreement between the government and the Ayala and Pangilinan groups for the operation of the Light Rail Transit 1 (LRT-1).

“On Monday, I will immediately file a House Resolution to look into this agreement,” Party List Rep. Eric G. Yap said in a statement at the weekend. “But I urge the House committee on public accounts and the committee on good government to exercise its oversight function and look into this as soon as possible.”

Mr. Yap said the deal is “very lopsided” in favor of the Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC) and a “mockery” of the Constitution.

He noted that the four-year-old agreement gives the company exclusive rights for 32 years, extendible to 50 years. “I keep on thinking why we entered into such contract,” the lawmaker said in Filipino.

MPIC spokeswoman Melody M. del Rosario did not immediately reply to a mobile-phone message seeking comments.

Light Rail Manila is jointly operated by Metro Pacific Investments Corp.’s (MPIC) Metro Pacific Light Rail Corp., Ayala Corp.’s AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp. and the Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure’s Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) PTE Ltd.

In October 2014, Light Rail Manila signed a concession agreement with the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Light Rail Transit Authority for the P62-billion LRT-1 Cavite extension, operation and maintenance project.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Friday said that he would look into the LRT agreement, while expressing his frustration over the alleged onerous contracts between the government and the two water distribution utilities in Metro Manila.

MPIC is one of three Philippine subsidiaries of Hong Kong’s First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being PLDT, Inc. and Philex Mining Corp.

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