Monday, 4 May 2009

Philippine Light Rail extension seen to attract businesses

Louella D. Desiderio and Jessica Anne D. Hermosa

NEW BUSINESSES are expected to rise in Quezon City with the completion of the link between two elevated railway systems set to be completed in December.

The line would connect Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1’s Monumento station in Caloocan City and Metro Rail Transit’s (MRT) North Ave. station in Quezon City.

Quezon City Mayor Feliciano R. Belmonte, Jr. said in a telephone interview yesterday the link would spawn new businesses in retail and information technology, particularly in the planned Triangle Park central business district near the North Ave. station.

"We expect new businesses in retail and information technology to come to the city as agents from Caloocan and Valenzuela will find it easy to work in Quezon City. A lot of it are moving to the city right now," he said.

There were 58,196 registered business establishments in the city in 2008.

Information and communications technology companies that have chosen to locate in the city include IBM Daksh Business Process Services Philippines, Inc., eTelecare Global Solutions, Inc., Convergys Corp., Sitel Philippines and Sykes Asia, Inc.

The P6.4-billion rail link will involve an elevated 5.4-kilometer viaduct and will feature three new stations: Balintawak, Roosevelt and North Ave.

Meanwhile, First Balfour President and Chief Operating Officer Anthony L. Fernandez said there are changes to the initial plan of the MRT-LRT loop.

"They (Light Rail Transit Authority) changed the initial plan. The station will now be in front of SM. We are waiting for prints to come out. May 2010 was the original [deadline]," he told reporters on the sidelines of Robert Bosch, Inc.’s anniversary celebration late last week.

First Balfour and D. M. Consunji, Inc. are behind the joint venture constructing the rail link.

Asked whether construction will be completed by December this year as called for by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Mr. Fernandez said in a telephone interview: "I don’t know. We’ll see. It’s still early. It’s only May."

He added that at least 90% of the project can be completed by the end of the year but it will not be operational yet.

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