MANILA NORTH Tollways Corp. (MNTC) has asked the Toll Regulatory Board to allow it to raise toll fees at the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), according to a notice published in a newspaper on Sunday.

The tollway arm of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) filed the petition in September 2016, but the notice was published only yesterday.

The notice should have been published a long time ago, NLEX Corp. spokesman Romulo S. Quimbo, Jr. said by telephone, citing a “mix-up in communication.” MNTC expects the toll board to hear its plea soon, he said.

In its petition, MNTC said noted under its supplemental toll operation agreement, it is entitled to the following adjusted toll rates, exclusive of 12% value-added tax, effective Jan. 1, 2017: P3.97 for ordinary cars (Class 1), P7.95 for buses and small commercial trucks (Class 2) and P11.92 for large trucks and trailers (Class 3).

The company said the increase would “ensure the sustainability and viability of the SCTEx and to ensure the comfort and safety of its motorists and other users.”

The MNTC announced in June that the Toll Regulatory Board had approved a 51-centavo/km (Class 1) toll increase for the 93.77-km SCTEx effective June 14 this year. Bases Conversion and Development Authority filed the petition for the toll hike in 2011.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange in June, the NLEX Corp. said that under the approval, motorists with Class 1 vehicles travelling from Mabalacat City (Mabiga Interchange) to Tarlac will pay P20 more under the new toll fee matrix. Motorists with Class 2 vehicles will pay P40 more and Class 3 vehicles will pay P60 more.

Motorists traveling between Mabalacat and Tipo in Subic will be charged an additional P32, P66, and P98 for Class 1, 2, and 3 vehicles, respectively.

In March, the toll regulator allowed NLEX Corp. to start collecting higher tolls along NLEx for petitions made in 2013 and 2015.

NLEX Corp. is part of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., the tollway unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).

MPIC is 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. — Arjay L. Balinbin