MANILA, Philippines - Top officials of the two companies proposing to build elevated toll roads that will connect the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) presented their plans to President Aquino and members of the Cabinet’s economic cluster in Malacañang on Wednesday.
Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corporation, led by its chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, presented its proposal to build an elevated 13.24 kilometer NLEX-SLEX connector road running along the elevated tracks of the Philippine National Railways from C-3 in Caloocan City to Buendia in Makati.
The San Miguel Corp. (SMC)-backed Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corp., led by SMC president Ramon Ang, presented its own proposal for a 14-kilometer Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 project that will link Buendia to Balintawak.
The projects, which are worth a combined P45 billion, will provide motorists an alternative to EDSA and decongest traffic in the metropolis.These toll roads are also envisioned to facilitate faster travel from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Clark International Airport.
President Benigno Aquino said the twin projects would provide a "very significant" boost to the economy and tourism.
"It facilitates the movement of good, services, and people and it also enhances the connectivity between NAIA and Clark. The expansion plans for our gateways will involve Clark to a large degree so that makes it even more feasible," he told reporters.
The projects will also enhance tourism in the nearby provinces.
"By 2016, I assume I will be in Tarlac a lot. And if I want to go to a beach, biglang naging very feasible to go Batangas or Mindoro or doon sa other areas—even taking flghts to Bora or Palawan," he said.
Transportation and Communication Secretary Mar Roxas said the project is also aimed at eliminating the truck ban, which would allow the unimpeded delivery of goods.
Roxas said the two projects would be undertaken independently, but simultaneously.
"Sa ngayon kasi ‘yung truck ban, sa gabi lang nakakabiyahe ang truck, so therefore, ‘yung manufacturing, yung pagde-deliver nito sa gabi rin lang. With the added capacity—ito ‘yung layunin ng Pangulo, ito ‘yung utos ng Pangulo na hanapan ng paraan [ang truck ban] para 24 by 7 ‘yung pag ma-manufacture, 24 by 7 ‘yung pagde-deliver ng raw materials, finished goods, work-in-process, nang sa ganun, ‘yung mga trabaho na nandito mapoproteksyunan,” Roxas told reporters.
Since both proposals are unsolicited, the project would be subject to a Swiss challenge, which allows other entities to submit bids.
"Ngayon pa lang bibinibigyan na ng sapat na pag-alert at pag[papa]alam doon sa mga nagnanais na ngayon pa lang ay magsimula na rin ng kanilang paghahanda dahil marami na pong trabaho ang naisagawa rito," Roxas said.
The government is looking at awarding the projects before the end of this year so that construction can start next year.
The two tollroad projects are being targeted for completion before Aquino's term ends.