MPT South Corp. said its two main expressway companies, Cavitex Infrastructure Corp. (CIC) and MPCALA Holdings Corp., are resuming work on the enhancement project being undertaken on the Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx) and the construction of the Santa Rosa-Silang section of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX).

“Yes, we are resuming work following Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) guidelines as approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID),” MPT South Corp. President and General Manager Roberto V. Bontia told BusinessWorld via e-mail on Wednesday.

He added: “We are picking up where we left off before the start of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) with the CAVITEx R1 Second Phase of the enhancements or the bridge works already at 55% into completion, and CALAX subsection 5. The continuation from Santa Rosa to Silang is at 96% ROW (right-of-way) with siteworks already at 57%.”

Public and private construction projects have been allowed to resume under the modified enhanced community quarantine but workers must be housed and fed onsite and observe physical distancing rules, among other requirements for construction work during the pandemic.

Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar’s Department Order 35 sets rules for carrying out infrastructure projects during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Phase 2 of the P1.1-billion R-1 enhancement project covers the widening of Parañaque Bridge, Las Piñas Bridge, and Wawa Bridge, and the main carriageway from Las Piñas Bridge to Zapote Interchange.

The 7.2-kilometer CALAX subsection 5 is a 2×2 lane expressway from Santa Rosa, Laguna to Silang East, Cavite.

The whole CALAX project, which costs P35.43 billion, covers 45.3 kilometers of expressway linking the CAVITEX from Kawit, Cavite to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) at the Mamplasan Interchange in Biñan, Laguna. The project is scheduled for completion by the second quarter of 2022.

On the P10-billion C5 South Link project, Mr. Bontia said: “For Segments 2&3 of CAVITEx C5 Link where ROW acquisition is already at 99% for Segment 3A2 connecting the flyover at the Merville side and Segment 2 ROW at 81%, we are still ironing out some details on project execution but we have issued the letter of award to the qualified bidder.”

On whether there would be adjustments in the timelines of the projects, Mr. Bontia said: “The guidelines of DPWH are specific to help stem the disease. The contractors have to follow new protocols at the jobsite which changes the preparation and mobilization time of the projects, these adjustments have an effect on the timeline.”

“We also give great consideration on the renewed focus by the government on Build, Build, Build projects; we want to accelerate the completion of projects -— subject to DPWH/DoH (Department of Health) guidelines,” he added.

MPT South Corp. is under the Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), one of three Philippine units of Hong Kong-based 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., has an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group. — Arjay L. Balinbin