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Arroyo pushes extension of MRT-3 line to Monumento (Philippine Daily Inquirer)
Gil Cabacungan, Inquirer News Service (Philippine Daily Inquirer and inq7.net) (4 Aug 2004)

MANILA, PHILIPPINES: PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the departments of justice and of transportation and communication to iron out the legal kinks impeding the construction of a railway extension connecting the North Edsa station of the Edsa Mass Rail Transit-3 with the Monumento station of Light Railway Transit 1.

Ret. Gen. Roberto Lastimoso, general manager of MRT-3, said the President had made the completion of the MRT extension one of her priority projects in the next six years.

Lastimoso said the President gave the order following an appeal from residents of northern Metro Manila, specifically Kalookan City, which she visited Wednesday in her Pulong ng Bayan, to fast-track the MRT-3 extension to ease their transport needs.

The link-up of MRT-3 with LRT-1 is expected to nearly double ridership at the MRT-3 currently pegged at 350,000 passengers daily.

The President had given the go-ahead for the construction of the 5.12-kilometer extension of MRT 3 worth $213.99 million more than two years ago. The President said the extension would complete the rail transit loop in Metro Manila.

Lastimoso said officials of the DOJ and DOTC met Tuesday to implement the President's marching order to put the MRT extension in motion.

He said the key issue to be resolved was whether the private Edsa MRT Corp.-builder of MRT 3-should undertake the project or whether it should be up for public bidding.

Edsa MRT claimed that it owned the right to build the extension based on a supplemental agreement it signed with the DOTC in 1999.

The DOJ, however, has ruled that the supplemental agreement had already lapsed and the project should be scheduled for re-bidding. The DOTC, on the other hand, insisted that the project would be up for a Swiss challenge wherein other private groups could still come forward to make an offer but Edsa MRT Corp. would retain the right to match any new bid.

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