MPTC wants JV with gov’t in connector road plan
Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. “prefers” a joint venture with the government as the ideal structure in implementing its proposed P18-billion Metro Manila “connector” tollroad project.
The project is now more than a year behind schedule due mainly to regulatory issues.
Because of disagreements within the government on whether the 8-kilometer tollroad should be a joint venture or be reverted to the original unsolicited proposal route, the Department of Public Works and Highways recently sought MPTC’s say on the matter.
Ramoncito Fernandez, president of MPTC, said in a text message last week the group had already sent a letter to the government “stating our preference for a joint venture” with Philippine National Construction Corp.
Public Works and Highways secretary Rogelio Singson said in a text message Friday that the department “still has to discuss the matter with Justice Secretary ( Leila) de Lima, who was asked by the President to study the options.”
While MPTC had complied with earlier changes that the government had proposed, he noted this route might be faster for the company given that a similar structure was implemented for the 14.8-km Skyway Stage 3 “connector tollroad” of San Miguel Corp. and Indonesia’s Citra Group. Skyway Stage 3.
Like MPTC’s proposal, Skyway Stage 3 would provide a new means of linking MPTC’s North Luzon Expressway with SMC-Citra’s South Luzon Expressway via an elevated tollroad, helping decongest Metro Manila’s clogged highways.
The Skyway Stage 3 project started construction in early 2014 and is scheduled for completion as early as 2016, the transportation department announced earlier.
“A [ joint venture] has the same laws and provisions used to award Skyway 3 STOA,” Fernandez said, referring to the supplemental toll operations agreement. “I hope (it can be awarded] as fast as TRB or Toll Regulatory Board) awarded Skyway 3.”
The status of MPTC’s connector road, which was proposed before President Aquino’s term started in 2010, was questioned anew as the National Economic and Development Authority Board did not clear the project last Oct. 17.
The move spells even more delays for the tollroad, which is now expected to be completed sometime in 2017 instead of before President Aquino steps down in 2016.
The joint venture proposal with PNCC ran into trouble after the DOJ on July 7 said the Neda board’s decision to approve this structure “appears to have been issued beyond its powers, and without factual basis or justification.”
MPTC’s project was initially submitted as an unsolicited proposal, meaning it would be subject to a Swiss or competitive challenge. This was before the transportation department last year decided it would be converted into a joint venture with PNCC, which holds the franchise for NLEX and SLEX.
MPTC is a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., whose businesses include power generation, tollroads, water supply and hospital operations.
MPIC, together with Ayala Corp., was recently awarded the P65-billion Light Rail Transit Line 1 Cavite extension public-private partnership deal.
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