Several Cabinet secretaries hope to work out the concerns of the Department of Finance (DOF) over San Miguel Corp.’s North Luzon Expressway (NLEx)-Skyway connector highway before any problem gets out of hand.
Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya on Wednesday said he would “sit down” with the heads of other departments involved in the project to discuss the issues which, if left unresolved, could lead to litigation.
In a memorandum dated April 2, the DOF called for revisions of key provisions of the draft concession framework or supplemental toll operation agreement (STOA) for Skyway Stage 3. For one, the DOF said it did not want state-run Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC) to be involved in the project, noting that the current draft would place “undue reliance on the supposed continuing effectivity and validity of the franchise” of this government corporation.
The DOF said the provision would put at risk “the integrity of the competitive tender process for tollways under the PPP (public-private partnership) program.”
PNCC has a minority stake in the connector road project, which was originally a partnership between the government-owned firm and Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corp. (CMMTC), a unit of San Miguel Corp.
The memorandum was signed by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and addressed to Secretaries Abaya, Rogelio Singson of Public Works, Arsenio Balisacan of Economic Planning, Jose Rene Almendras and Edmundo Reyes Jr. of the Toll Regulatory Board.
Also, the DOF called for the inclusion of specific key performance indicators for operations and maintenance, and penalties for noncompliance to the project’s terms. Failure to complete the entire project in 36 months would provide grounds for termination, the DOF said.