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Solon wants probe into 'lopsided' concession deal with LRMC

ACT-CIS party-list Representative Eric Go Yap on Monday filed a resolution seeking an investigation into what he described as a "lopsided" concession agreement between the government and the Ayala-Pangilinan consortium Light Rail Management Corporation (LRMC).

Yap filed House Resolution 647 only a few days after President Rodrigo Duterte reportedly said that he would review the existing deal of the Light Rail Transit Authority with the LRMC.

In the resolution, Yap pointed out that the LRT-1 operations were turned over in 2015 from the LRTA and the Department of Transportation and Communications to LRMC.

However, in just four years since it took over LRT-1 operations, the lawmaker claimed that LRMC's gross revenue "appears to be bigger than the project concession fee," which he said may indicate "an unjust and inequitable terms that my put the financial burden of the agreement to the government."

Yap also stated that the LRMC is a consortium of the Ayala-led AC infrastructure Holdings Corp., the Metro Pacific Investment Corp., and Australian firm Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings, and that Fernando Zobel de Ayala and Manuel V. Pangilinan have key roles in its operations.

Ayala and Pangilinan are also the heads of water concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad, respectively, whose concession agreements supposedly contains onerous provisions.

"There must be a review of such existing government contracts with private firms to ensure that these primarily advantageous to the Filipino people," Yap said.

Duterte had threatened to run after individuals responsible over the supposedly disadvantageous concession agreements entered by the government with Maynilad and Manila Water.

The President protested a provision in the contracts that if the government interferes in the implementation of agreed water rates, the state will indemnify the utility company for any losses suffered.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore has ordered the Philippine government to pay Maynilad around P3.4 billion and Manila Water P7.39 billion as compensation for losses or damages as spelled out under the liability clause.

But the companies said last December that they were no longer pursuing the awards and that they would coordinate with the government to review provisions in the agreements that the government considered disadvantageous to its interests and the consumers. —LDF, GMA News