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Monday, May 20, 2024

Private firms support infra development

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Two of the country’s largest conglomerates are investing more in big-ticket infrastructure projects to help lift the economy.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp. chairman Manuel Pangilinan said the private sector should step up to propel the economy forward this year, as inflation and interest rates impact consumer and government spending.

“We should do our part in raising the level of investments. The more we do, the more we invest, the more jobs we create, which I think will create a virtuous cycle of more and more growth for the country,” Pangilinan said, citing investments in infrastructure, agriculture and food and tourism as examples.

“We should participate in trying to push the country’s economic growth, as has been called for by the President,” he said.

Metro Pacific and Japanese partner Mitsui & Co. earlier committed to investing $600 million in infrastructure development in the Philippines.

The tollway unit of MPIC signed a P72-billion deal with San Miguel Corp. to jointly undertake the construction, operation and maintenance of the Cavite-Batangas Expressway and Nasugbu-Bauan Expressway.

The 27.06-kilometer CBEX will establish a crucial link connecting CALAX’ Silang (Aguinaldo) Interchange to Nasugbu, while the 60.90-kilometer NBEX will provide seamless connectivity from Nasugbu to Bauan.

The groundbreaking is scheduled for 2024, and CBEX and NBEX are expected to be completed and open to the public by 2027.

Pangilinan said together with SMC, the company envisage a future where CBEX and NBEX could help pave the way for connectivity and economic growth in the CALABARZON region.

“We look forward to leveraging on our respective strengths for the realization of this vital infrastructure project,” he said.

MPTC also plans to invest P76.3 billion over the next two years to complete the expansion of five expressway projects with a total length of 66.9 kilometers.  Of the total investment, MPTC is spending P20.2 billion for NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, P29.5 billion for the Cavite Laguna Expressway Project, P16.4 billion for Cavitex-C5 South Link, P2.4 billion for Cavitex-Calax Link and P7.8 billion Candaba 3rd Viaduct Project.

Besides expressways, the MPIC through Light Rail Manila Corp. is building the first phase of LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension Project, which was 88-percent completed as of end-June.

The first phase covers 6.7 kilometers of the 11km-extension project with five stations that are in various stages of development.  Works on civil and structural, structural steel, architectural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection are ongoing.

With this latest progress, LRMC remains optimistic about completing the construction of LRT-1 Cavite Extension Phase 1 by the fourth quarter of 2024.

Phase 1 covers 7 kilometers of the 11-km. LRT-1 Cavite Extension, including the Redemptorist Station, MIA Station, Asiaworld Station, Ninoy Aquino Station and Dr. Santos Station.

The remaining stations between Las Piñas and Niog are scheduled to become fully-operational by 2027.

The Cavite extension project will connect Baclaran in Parañaque City to Bacoor, Cavite.

San Miguel, on the other hand, is planning to build a 15-km “super bridge” that will link Mindoro Island to Batangas province.

The Mindoro-Batangas super bridge project, which was included in the ten programs of the Marcos administration for public-private partnership  will help spur growth and development in Oriental Mindoro and the entire Mimaropa (Mindoro Oriental & Occidental, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) region.

The bridge will start from Barangay Ilijan in Batangas, and pass through Verde Island and land in Barangay Sinandigan in Puerto Galera.

“The bridge is seen to result in faster and more efficient transport of people and goods and spur local economic growth through job generation, higher investments and optimization of basic services such as water, power and telecommunications, among others,” SMC president and chief executive Ramon Ang said.

San Miguel is also completing the construction of the P740-New Manila International Airport in Bulacan province, which is seen to catalyze sustainable economic growth for the Philippines, especially post-pandemic.  The project is also seen to deliver over a million jobs.

The airport project will feature four parallel runways, a world-class terminal and a modern and interlinked infrastructure network that includes expressways and railways.

San Miguel is also completing the MRT 7, a 22-km rail and road development from North Ave. in Quezon City to San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan.

As of June this year, the MRT 7 project was 61.92-percent completed, and partial operations are expected to start by the second quarter of 2025.

Once completed, the project can accommodate 300,000 passengers in its first year of operations, and up to 850,000 passengers daily in its 12th year.

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