MPIC hopes to get original proponent status for CTBEx

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THE METRO PACIFIC group is expected to secure original proponent status (OPS) for the Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas Expressway (CTBEx) this month.

MPCALA Holdings, Inc. President Luigi L. Bautista said there was a clarification made regarding the proponent of the project.

“CTBEx is almost complete with documentation. We hope to be able to get the OPS by the end of this month,” Mr. Bautista told reporters on the sidelines of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway  site inspection on Feb. 8. He said the proponent for the project will now be MPCALA Holdings and Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC).

MPCALA Holdings, an Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) unit, submitted the unsolicited proposal for the CTBEx last July.

The 49-kilometer toll road will connect the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX), where MPCALA is the private concessionaire, at the Silang East Interchange to Tagaytay City, and end in Nasugbu, Batangas. The company earlier expected to secure OPS for CBTEx in November last year. The P22.43-billion project will have to be approved the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board after the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) awards OPS status to MPCALA and MPTC.

If approved by the NEDA Board, the project will undergo a Swiss challenge, wherein third parties can submit competing offers. The original proponent will be given the right to match these offers. Public Works Undersecretary Maria Catalina E. Cabral said last year they were eyeing a Swiss challenge by the first half of this year.

Construction of the expressway is aimed to start by mid-2019, and completed by mid-2022.

MPIC is one of three Philippine subsidiaries of Hong Kong’s First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being PLDT, Inc. and Philex Mining Corp. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., maintains an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group. — Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo