The Transportation Department and Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. are open to an out-of-court settlement over a multibillion-peso compensation claim, stemming from the government’s refusal to approve toll adjustments since 2011.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the government was in talks with MPTC, the toll road unit of the Metro Pacific Investments Corp., to resolve the compensation claim for failure to increase the toll at North Luzon Expressway and Manila-Cavite Expressway.
“We are asking a gradual implementation of toll adjustments and if there’s a possibility to terminate the arbitration case, which is expensive,” Tugade said during an economic forum organized by the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines at Ayuntamiento de Manila in Intramuros, Manila.
MPTC president and chief executive Rodrigo Franco said his company was supporting the position of the government to find a “mutual acceptable way” of settling the issue on toll adjustments.
“We already considering that if we agree on adjustment it would be on a staggered basis. We are also committed to terminate the arbitration case,” he said.
NLEX and Cavitex Infrastructure Corp. each issued a notice of arbitration and statement of claim to the government, through the Toll Regulatory Board in April 2016 to obtain compensation amounting to about P3 billion for North Luzon Expressways and P877 million for Cavitex.
The two tollway operators filed the notice of arbitration after TRB’s inaction on the toll adjustments which were due since January 2011 for NLEX and January 2012 for Cavitex.
MPTC earlier said foregone revenues from the government’s failure to adjust tariff already exceeded P8 billion.
MPIC, the parent company, earlier committed to spend about P122.7 billion in the next five years to build highways and toll roads around the Philippines.
MPIC said the amount would depend on the satisfactory resolution of various overdue tariff adjustments, now ranging between 20 percent and 48 percent on different parts of the network. It said without the government’s approval for toll adjustments, further investment would be delayed.
MPTC reported a core net income of P2.3 billion in the first six months, up 12 percent from P1.2 billion a year earlier.
Average daily vehicle entries for NLEx, Manila-Cavite Expressway and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway rose 9 percent to 480,711 in the six month period from 440,904 entries a year ago.