SMC lining up P122-B infra projects

Published August 26, 2020, 5:00 AM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is lining up a couple of infrastructure projects worth P121.8 billion  to transform Luzon into a growth powerhouse within five years, SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang announced yesterday..

SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang

These are the 420-kilometer South Luzon Expressway Tollroad 5 (SLEX-TR5) connecting Quezon province and the Bicol region, and the 19.40-km. Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) linking  the eastern and western sides of Metro Manila.

The bulk of SMC’s  investment into these projects will fund the salaries of thousands of workers, payments to local contractors, materials suppliers, haulers and the national and local governments.

“San Miguel is fully committed to helping our country overcome this crisis. A big part of that is to continue, and not hold back, on new investments ” he underscored.

“SLEX TR5 will take four years to complete, and PAREX, three years. By that time, the pandemic would have been far behind us, ” Ang elaborated.

“Other major infrastructure projects, such as our  P734-billion Bulacan Airport project, would also be complete. Within five years, the Philippines will be transformed, and be better than ever.”

Recently, the Toll Regulatory Board, under the Department of Transportation (DOTr), officially designated SMC’s proposed SLEX TR5 and PAREX as certified toll road projects.

Now, the Technical Working Group (TWG) of the TRB – composed of  the DOTr, the Dept. of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and Dept. of Finance (DoF), are conducting discussions with SMC and its joint venture partner, PNCC, on the projects’ technical, financial, and legal considerations.

The P26.38 billion South Luzon Expressway Toll Road 5 (SLEX TR5) is a 420-kilometer, four lane expressway starting from SLEX TR4 in Brgy. Mayao, Lucena City Quezon, ending at the Matnog Ferry Terminal in Sorsogon.

It is a  Build-Operate-Transfer project with a concession period of 30 years. It can be completed in 46 months.

The SLEX TR5 will reduce travel time from Lucena to Matnog from 9 hours to 5.5 hours, and connect major urban centers in Quezon and Bicol.

It will provide better and safer access to tourist destinations, roro ports, fish ports, and food production/agriculture areas

It will also provide a faster road alternative from Metro Manila and hasten the development of new growth centers in the Quezon and Bicol regions and other southern parts of the country.

On the other hand, the P95.4 billion Pasig River Expressway is 19.40-kilometer, six-lane, elevated expressway traversing the entirety of the Pasig River.

It will start from Radial Road 10 (R10) in Manila and end at a connection of the South East Metro Manila Expressway (SEMME) at Circumferential Road 6 (C-6).

It will be completed in 36 months and operate under a 30-year Build Operate Transfer (BOT) scheme.

The expressway will reduce travel time from R-10 to C-6 to just 15 minutes and directly connect the western and eastern cities of Metro Manila.

It will likewise decongest primary corridors of R10, EDSA, and C-5 by providing connectivity among toll roads and freeways and diverting traffic to other alternative routes.

On top of these, it will provide faster access to the country’s largest business districts, Makati, Ortigas, and BGC.

Construction starts as soon as SMC obtains the needed permits and clearances.

“Hopefully, we will be able to finalize with government and they will find our proposals favorable to the country,” according to Ang.

“In the short to medium term, our people need jobs. Among the most affected by the economic impact of COVID-19 are laborers, who rely on daily wages, and many in the construction industry.”

“We also have a lot of engineers or technical and labor workers from abroad who have either lost their jobs or decided to come home to their families. We can use their skills,” he added.