San Miguel's Ang says Pasig River tollway won't affect heritage sites


Posted at Oct 06 2021 06:23 PM

MANILA - The Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) project will not impact heritage sites in Intramuros, Manila, according to San Miguel Corporation which is seeking to build the project. 

SMC president Ramon Ang said an illustration that spread on social media, showing PAREX running alongside Intramuros, was false. 

“The image did not come from us. For the record, per the basic alignment developed in consultation with, and approved by government, PAREX will not run on the Intramuros side, but on the other side, along Binondo,” Ang said.

An advocacy group earlier said that more than 40 existing heritage structures will likely be affected by the construction of the expressway. PAREX will also disrupt the views of Intramuros, the Post Office, and other historic districts, they said.

But Ang said SMC also values heritage sites, especially Intramuros, and pointed out that the company helped in the restoration of the Manila Cathedral years back.

“By placing the alignment on the other side, we can avoid any significant impact on Intramuros, and actually use the PAREX to showcase our heritage sites to users, including tourists. The area will also become more accessible to more Filipinos, via the planned Bus Rapid Transit system,” said Ang.

The SMC chief also insisted that the new tollway "will not just be for vehicles, but also for pedestrians, joggers, and bicycle users." 

Ang said the tollway's Bus Rapid Transit, bike lanes, pedestrian walkways, and other features are being considered in the project's engineering design.

“In the coming weeks, we will present visuals of what this infrastructure will look like and we assure you it will be adaptive, inclusive and ecologically resilient benefitting not just a few, but all of us,” Ang said.

The SMC chief also criticized groups which, he said, aim to beautify the Pasig River but don't solve traffic. 

“We cannot afford just a solution that will build landscaped walkways and beautify the surroundings but does not solve the very real urban problems affecting millions of Filipinos everyday, that have sadly become so normalized in our society, that some would rather not do anything instead of disrupting the status quo.”

Various groups opposed to PAREX meanwhile have said that the tollway would only worsen traffic in Metro Manila by encouraging more people to use cars. 

An urban planner also said that instead of a tollway, the government should build an esplanade along the banks of the river which pedestrians and cyclists can use. 


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