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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        2  March 2011

Philippines Pangilinan claims control of MRT 3

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The group of Manuel V. Pangilinan on Tuesday said it has control over the operator of Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3) after buying out “some” of the private shareholders.

Pangilinan told reporters that Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) bought out “some not all” of the private shareholders in Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC), without disclosing the total number of shares acquired.

MPIC earlier disclosed that it bought 29 percent of MRTC through Fil Estate Corp.

“We have reached the point where we have voting control of MRTC together with other private shareholders,” Pangilinan said, adding that it remains unclear why the government will privatize a private company.

“The MRTC is a private company . . . it was privatized many years ago. It’s not owned by the government unlike LRT Lines 1 and 2,” he said, referring to state-run Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), which runs the country’s first two overhead railways.

Pangilinan said Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) own only 23 percent of MRTC, while the private sectors has 77 percent.

“It’s up for the government” to accept MPIC’s offer to buy out and expand the MRT3 system, the company’s chairman said.

Referring to the company’s buyout proposal, he said MPIC cannot do anything “if they don’t want it.”

An official of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) had said that government may turn down the offer of MPIC to buy out and expand the MRT 3 because of the Aquino administration’s policy of bidding out all public projects.

MPIC had offered to buy the 77 percent economic interest of the two state-owned banks in MRT 3 for $1.1 billion.

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