LRTA awaiting gov’t funding commitment for LRT-2 West extension

THE Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) said it has requested that the government expedite the issuance of a budget document known as the multi-year obligational authority (MYOA) to signify a commitment to fund the LRT-2 West Extension project.

“’Yan ang nire-request namin, the soonest sana. Kasi ’yan ang hinihintay namin para maka-start kami ng bidding, with that document pwede ka na mag-start ng bidding (It is what we are requesting, the soonest if possible. That’s the document we are waiting for to start the bidding for the project),” LRTA Administrator Hernando T. Cabrera told reporters.

Mr. Cabrera said that the MYOA should have been issued last year.

The MYOA is issued by the Department of Budget and Management to government agencies undertaking multi-year projects.

Nakaabang na ang consulting services natin, kumpleto na ang lahat ng bidding documents, kumpleto na ang lahat ng mga design. Naka-suspend lang ’yung consultant kasi wala silang ginagawa e, so they have to scale down, naka-skeleton force lang sila (Our consulting services providers are ready, the bidding documents are complete, the design is complete. The consultant is currently not doing anything and has had to scale down to a skeleton force),” Mr. Cabrera said. 

He added that the delay could be the domestic sourcing of the funds.

“Compared to other projects that are funded by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) or ADB (Asian Development Bank), this one is a locally-funded project,” he said.

Mr. Cabrera said all the issues concerning alignment and right of way (RoW) for the West Extension project have been resolved.

Initially, Mr. Cabrera said that there were issues involving the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), informal settlers and RoW sharing with other government projects.

“The last remaining hurdle namin diyan actually is ’yung doon sa area na pag-aari ng PPA. Meron kasing tatamaan na area doon na pagmamay-ari ng PPA, ’yun na lang ang last hurdle namin. Pero continuous ’yung aming coordination meeting with them para matapos na ’tong issue (Our last remaining hurdle was in the area owned by the PPA because the project will cross an area controlled by PPA. But we are holding continuous coordination meetings with them to resolve the issue),” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Cabrera said that due to the changes made to Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) projects in the same area, there is a chance that the existing RoW will be able to accommodate the West Extension project.

Sa nabasa kong report is that itong isang DPWH na project ito iuusog nila ng konti so it will accommodate us now to go back doon sa road RoW so wala na kaming problema sa informal settlers (A report I’ve read showed that one DPWH project will be slightly moved, so the RoW can now accommodate us. We don’t have any problem with informal settlers anymore),” he said.

“But basically, the main problem is the funding. Tuloy-tuloy ang request namin to speed up the budget (We are continuously requesting to speed up the allocation of the budget),” he added.

The West Extension project will connect the current line that ends in Recto to Port Area, Manila. The 3-kilometer project will have three stations: Tutuban, Divisoria and Pier 4.

A letter of transmittal indicates that the total cost of the West Extension is P10.12 billion. — Justine D. Tabile