SM’s naming rights to LRT-MRT common station expired in 2011 – DOTC spokesman
June 9, 2014
Manila, Philippines — The naming rights for the common station of the Light and Metro Rail Transits (LRT-MRT) being claimed by SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) expired together with the project’s initial approval in 2011, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said yesterday.
DOTC spokesperson Michael Sagcal said SMPHI can no longer force government to build the LRT-MRT common station near the SM North EDSA based on a 2009 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) it signed with the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA).
The original budget and location of the proposed LRT-MRT Common Station approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) expired in 2011, he said.
The SMPHI paid LRTA P200 million as naming rights on the condition that the infrastructure would be built near SM North EDSA in Quezon City.
The NEDA originally appropriated P1.5 billion for the contract to design and build the LRT-MRT common station. But the bidding of the contract was postponed due to site-selection debates until NEDA re-approved the project at a new cost of P1.39 billion and a new location at Trinoma.
“The NEDA approval that SMPHI is referring to expired in 2011. The 2013 NEDA approval, which is in effect (now), allows the Common Station to be built in the more advantageous location at MRT 3,” Sagcal said.
Sagcal said government stands to save up to P1 billion in constructing the LRT-MRT common station at the EDSA-North Avenue end of the MRT-3 system and the location will also benefit more riders since the Quezon City government is developing the North Triangle area as a new central business district.
However, SMPHI said there was no provision for expiry in its agreement with government on the common station.
“There was no expiry date provision in the 2009 NEDA-ICC documents on the SM North Edsa common station site, the copy of which is with us,” SMPHI said.
“Assuming there was an expiration, SM was never made aware of, nor a party to it. Further, it could only be the DOTC/LRTA’s delay which caused the same. They cannot use their failure to timely implement the project to justify a sudden change in the location of the station. They cannot use what was caused by their own fault to throw our contract away,” it said. (Kris Bayos)