MANILA, Philippines – The 45-kilometer Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) is seen to become a “green highway” under a partnership inked on Monday, December 6.
Manny Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Tollways (MPT) South Management Corporation signed a memorandum of agreement with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for sustainability efforts along the expressway, under the Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans, and Landscapes (SIBOL) project.
MPT South and USAID will work on a biodiversity program that will include tree planting along CALAX, advancing science-based decision-making, promoting good environmental practices, and fostering community engagement, as well as transforming the program itself to be an income-generating venture for communities.
Signing the agreement is the first step of the program, said MPT South, and the actual price tag for it has yet to be finalized.
CALAX is the first Pangilinan-led tollway to undergo the green program. Other toll roads will follow suit.
“There are also other projects in the pipeline – toll road projects – that we could potentially expand the partnership into. That’s the main intent – to include the other toll road network of MPTC (Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation),” said MPT South president and general manager Roberto Bontia.
Asked whether MPTC would also access green financing for its sustainability program, MPTC chief finance officer Chris Lizo answered in the affirmative.
“We are [seeking green financing],” said Lizo. “We want to make CALAX the pioneer in terms of doing green financing in the country. It’s something that we can do in the next three years as we complete CALAX.”
“All of this, obviously, contribute to our aspiration to have the very first green financing activity here in the country for a toll road project,” added Lizo.
Earlier in 2021, MPT South said converting its expressways into sustainable highways is part of its plans to showcase MPTC’s role in decarbonizing the transport sector.
Solar panels were installed in toll plazas of CALAX’s operational segments to power its own operations.
The expressway is targeted to be completed by the first quarter of 2023, and will be linked to the Cavite Expressway in Kawit. – Rappler.com