By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter
THE DEPARTMENT of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is readying the Swiss challenge for two unsolicited proposals by the Metro Pacific and San Miguel groups by the first half of the year.
Maria Catalina E. Cabral, DPWH Undersecretary for Planning and Public-Private Partnership (PPP), told BusinessWorld on Wednesday they are targeting to move forward with the Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas Expressway (CTBEx) and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) extension projects by mid-2019.
“Ang na-issue-han pa lang namin ng proponent status ’yung CTBEx, Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas on the South, tsaka on the North, yung extension ng TPLEx para umabot ng San Juan. So dalawa na ’yan na isi-Swiss challenge namin this first half of the year (We’ve issued original proponent status (OPS) to CTBEx in the South, and in the North, the extension of TPLEx to San Juan. Those two, we’ll subject to Swiss challenge this first half of the year),” she said on the sidelines of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) Harbor Link Segment 10 inspection in Valenzuela City.
Ms. Cabral noted the CTBEx proposal of Metro Pacific’s MPCALA Holdings, Inc. has already been submitted to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for evaluation. The TPLEx extension proposal of San Miguel Corp. (SMC), on the other hand, will be turned over this month.
“Madali naman kasi ’yung TPLEx continuation lang ’yun eh (It’s going to be easy, because TPLEx is just a continuation of the toll road). CTBEx is also going to be spurring outside CALAX (Cavite-Laguna Expressway),” she said.
MPCALA Holdings received OPS from the DPWH in July last year for its P22.43-billion proposal to build a 50.42-kilometer expressway connecting CALAX at Silang East Interchange to Tagaytay City and Nasugbu, Batangas.
In December, SMC was also awarded OPS for its P23.948-billion project to extend the TPLEx alignment from Rosario, La Union to San Juan, La Union. The 59.4-kilometer extension will have three segments: from Rosario to Tubao, then from Tubao to Naguilian, and from Naguilian to San Juan.
Under the Swiss challenge, other companies are invited to contend with an original proponent, which if it wins, may proceed with starting the project.
Ms. Cabral said the DPWH continues to review a number of unsolicited proposals, but refused to disclose further information on its progress until these are granted OPS.
“Habang hindi pa kami nag-iissue ng original proponent status, open pa ’yan kahit kanino (Until we issue an original proponent status, the project is still open to anyone). Anybody can submit unsolicited proposals,” she said.
MPCALA Holdings is under 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.