The tollway unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. said it is interested in joining the auction of two expressway projects north of Manila under the public private partnership scheme.

“We are looking at the PPP projects in the pipeline that are interesting to us like the Plaridel Bypass. We heard that they want to submit it to Neda board next month,” said Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. president and chief executive Rodrigo Franco.

The Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee of the National Economic and Development Authority endorsed the P9.33-billion Plaridel Bypass Toll Road Project to the Neda board, which is chaired by President Duterte.

The project involves the conversion of existing two-lane Plaridel Bypass Road into a four-lane toll road with expressway standards.

The new four-lane toll road will improve the road capacity and save travel time of about 80 minutes per vehicle. The project has a concession period of 30 years including three years of construction.

Franco said MPTC was also interested in the P14.2-billion Central Luzon Link Expressway Phase 2, a two-lane toll road that stretches 35.7 kilometers, which would also be bid out under the PPP program.

The project is an extension of CLEX Phase I and will connect Cabanatuan City to San Jose City, also in Nueva Ecija. Phase 1 will be constructed by the government with funding from the government of Japan.

MPCALA Holdings Inc., a unit of MPIC, earlier secured a contract to build and operate the Cavite Laguna Expressway with a premium offer of P27.3 billion, beating the P22.2-billion bid of Optimal Infrastructure Development Inc., a unit of San Miguel Corp. MPIC also controls MNTC.

MPTC signed a joint venture agreement with the city of Cebu and the municipality of Cordova in April 2016 to build the P27.9-billion Cebu-Cordova Bridge Project. The 8.25-km bridge project, set to be completed by 2020, will connect Cebu City to Mactan Island via Cordova.

The company is also awaiting the notice of award from the Public Works Department to build an elevated expressway to connect the Northern and Southern toll road systems at a cost of P18 billion.

MPTC’s core net income amounted to P1.6 billion in the first six months, up 31 percent from P1.2 billion last year as a result of strong traffic growth and new contributions from SCTEX and CII B&R, a toll road company located in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

29 August 2016
By Darwin G. Amojelar