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MPTC won’t drop CTBEX despite overlap with San Miguel project

THE METRO Pacific Tollways group said it will not give up its original proponent status (OPS) for its unsolicited proposal to construct the 50.43-kilometer Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas Expressway (CTBEX) despite San Miguel Holdings Corp.’s Cavite-Batangas Expressway (CBEX) overlapping with the project.

The group will not participate as a challenger in the Swiss challenge process for the CBEX unsolicited proposal submitted by San Miguel Holdings to the provincial government of Cavite, said Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) President and Chief Executive Officer Rodrigo E. Franco recently.

“That would be messier; we don’t want to give up our original proponent status,” he told BusinessWorld when asked if MPTC would participate in the Swiss challenge process.

Mr. Franco noted that the alignment of CBEX overlaps with the group’s proposed P25.24-billion CTBEX, which is expected to provide linkage between Metro Manila-Cavite and Batangas.

“There’s (some) overlap. That’s the scenario,” he said, noting that the group’s proposal is still awaiting approval from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

CBEX is a 27.06-kilometer toll road traversing through the municipalities of Silang, Amadeo, Tagaytay, Indang, Mendez, and Alfonso in Cavite, as well as Nasugbu in Batangas where a San Miguel Corp. company also operates a toll expressway, the 41.9-kilometer Southern Tagalog Arterial Road, which is commonly known as STAR Tollway.

CBEX is planned to have three access or interchange points. These are in Silang, Cavite; Tagaytay; and Nasugbu/Alfonso.

Meanwhile, CTBEX of the Metro Pacific Tollways group will traverse mostly the rural areas of Silang, Tagaytay, Amadeo, Mendez, Alfonso, and Magallanes in the Cavite province and Nasugbu in Batangas. In 2018, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) awarded MPCALA Holdings, Inc., a unit of MPTC, the OPS for CTBEX.

The project will have interchanges in Silang, Pook, Aguinaldo, Amadeo, Mendez, Alfonso, Magallanes, and Nasugbu.

“This project aims to provide a free-flowing, high-facility alternative route for traffic presently plying Aguinaldo Highway and Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road, which are experiencing congestion during peak periods and weekends,” the DPWH said on its website.

The department also said that coordination with the Metro Pacific Tollways group for the submission of the remaining documentary requirements to NEDA is ongoing.

On CBEX, the Cavite government is currently seeking interested parties to pre-qualify and submit comparative proposals for the selection of the province’s joint venture partner to develop the project.

The province’s private partner will “finance, design, construct, operate and maintain the project under a 35-year concessional period,” Cavite Public-Private Partnership Selection Committee Chairman Renato A. Abutan said in an advisory.

Challengers are expected to submit their qualification documents, technical proposals, and financial proposals as one bid package not later than Jan. 24 next year, he also said.

MPTC is the tollways unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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