New SCTEx deal signed

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 01 2011 06:53 PM | Updated as of Jul 02 2011 07:48 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) and the Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) have come to terms on the contract to run the Sublic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).

Under the new agreement, MNTC will operate and manage SCTEx for 33 years, longer than the original concession period of 25 years.

The parties said the deal also satisfies BCDA's requirement that its obligations to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) be covered through a revenue-sharing scheme and agreed-on advances during payment shortfalls.

The JICA loan used to finance the construction of SCTEx will mature in 2041.

"This is a major breakthrough towards establishing a good business model for public-private partnership (PPP) vigorously pushed by the Aquino administration as the linchpin of national economic development," BCDA President and CEO Arnel Casanova said in a statement.

MNTC chairman Manuel Pangilinan added, "this agreement reflects the re-affirmation of our alliance with BCDA in running SCTEx, and reiterates our group's commitment to support the PPP program of the government."

As SCTEx concessionaire, MNTC will have overall management and supervision of the tollway, which links the Subic Freeport Zone in Zambales, Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga, and the Central Techno Park in Tarlac.

MNTC noted the contract paves the way for its plan to integrate SCTEx with the North Luzon Expressway.

The new agreement will be forwarded to the Toll Regulatory Board and Office of the President for final approval.

Early this year, the Aquino administration ordered the review of the SCTEx contract to ensure the government maximizes benefits under it.

The renegotiation set off alarm bells in the private sector, which urged the Aquino government to honor contracts previously forged.

On Thursday, Hubert d'Aboville, president of the European Chamber of Commerce, said that government flip-flopping on some contracts might turn off investors.

President Aquino had ordered the cancelation of a Belgian lake dredging project and the renegotiation of a port project as well as a railway development over possible anomalies.