SMC set to revive controversial PAREx

SMC set to revive controversial PAREx

TRB says Ramon Ang-led firm must secure environmental clearance

SMC set to revive controversial PAREx

Alvin Carullo

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has finally decided to proceed with its previously shelved Pasig River Expressway (PAREx) project and construction may even start as early as 2025 if all requirements are secured before the end of the year, according to the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB).

TRB Executive Director Alvin Carullo, in an interview with reporters last week, said SMC was keen on complying with the requirements to build the controversial 19.37-kilometer expressway.


“As of now, they (SMC) are not abandoning the project,” he said. “It (Parex) is a live project.”


The TRB is giving the conglomerate until October this year to submit the final engineering design for the project with new cost projections to factor in inflation.

“It will also be vetted and reviewed by the board, by the TRB, and duly approved by the board also,” he said.

ECC needed

Along with this, Carullo said SMC would also need to secure an environmental clearance certificate (ECC) to prove that the project would have no significant adverse impact on the environment. In applying for an ECC, the Ramon Ang-led company must also present its environmental impact and management plan for the project.SMC, to recall, received backlash from advocacy groups, who said the tollway would harm the Pasig river ecosystem.

In 2021, scientist group Advocates of Science and Technology for the People said the proposed elevated expressway would cause damage to the river by blocking natural sunlight, consequently “[affecting] the remaining food chain of Pasig River.”

In March, Ang said he was dropping the plan in consideration of public opinion. But the tycoon eased his stance about two months later, saying it was only on hold for further review.

Civil society group Ilog Pasiglahin has since renewed its call for SMC to drop the project due to potential environmental impact. The group previously said it was critical to preserve the Pasig River as it is also connected to other bodies of water, including Manila Bay, Laguna de Bay, Marikina River, San Juan River and Taguig River.


Mega venture

PAREx is a six-lane expressway expected to pass through the Pasig River from Radial Road 10 in Manila and the proposed South East Metro Manila Expressway at Circumferential Road 6.

SMC’s toll road portfolio includes the South Luzon Expressway, Skyway Stages 1, 2 and 3, Southern Tagalog Arterial Road, Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway, Naia Expressway and Alabang South Skyway Extension.

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The diversified conglomerate is also in the process of creating a mega tollway joint venture with Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. INQ

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