The management of Metro Rail Transit Line 3 said MRT Development Corp. led by businessman Robert Sobrepeña owes P2.5 billion in unpaid development rights to the government.
The operator of MRT 3 said MRT DevCo had continuously failed to pay the Transportation Department development rental payment amounting to P2.5 billion, despite repeated demands.
“As a result, DOTC-MRT 3 is constrained from issuing access permits to MRTDevCo, its advertising manager, Media Puzzle Inc., and any of their contractors and affiliates,” the agency said.
The advertising business at MRT is a part of the development and commercial rights granted by the government to MRT Corp., as a part of their 1998 build-lease-transfer agreement as well as the right to develop the air space above the 13 stations.
The Transportation Department had planned to buy out the MRT 3 assets from the Sobrepeña Group even after Congress did not approve the P53.9-billion allocation in the 2015 budget for the government’s takeover.
President Benigno Aquino III issued Executive Order No. 126 in 2013, directing the Transportation and Finance Departments to buy the private sector out of MRT 3, pursuant to the build-lease-transfer agreement.
Metro Pacific Investments Corp. earlier said it re-submitted a $523-million proposal to rehabilitate and upgrade the MRT 3 system under the Duterte administration.
Metro Pacific signed a cooperation agreement in 2011 with several groups holding rights and interests in MRT 3, including MRTC, Metro Rail Transit Holdings Inc., Metro Rail Transit 2 Inc. and Monumento Rail Transit Corp., giving the First Pacific unit an option to acquire 48 percent. It did not exercise the option.
State-run Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines hold an 80-percent economic interest in MRT 3, while creditors of MRTC own the remaining stake.
MRT 3, which runs along Edsa from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City, serves 500,000 passengers a day, way beyond its rated capacity of 350,000.
The line has a fleet of 73 Czech-made air-conditioned rail cars.