The government approved the proposal of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) to build an elevated expressway along the Pasig River, despite protests from transport and environmental groups.
On Tuesday, September 21, SMC and the Department of Transportation, Department of Public Works and Highways, Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), and Philippine National Construction Corporation signed a supplemental toll operations agreement.
The P95-billion Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) will be built and financed by SMC.
It will stretch for 19.37 kilometers, with six lanes and a connection to Skyway 3, another SMC project. Because of this connection, a bus rapid transit system will also run along PAREX.
SMC said it is “tapping” the services of architect Felino Palafox Jr. for the new expressway.
But Palafox Associates and Palafox Architecture Group clarified in a statement on Sunday, September 26, that they “have not signed any contract to be the consultant” of PAREX.
They added that while SMC and Ang “reached out” to Palafox “to introduce green architecture and green urbanism principles in SMC infrastructure projects, this has never been formalized specifically for the PAREX project.”
SMC’s plans include the cleanup of the Pasig River, a project launched last June. The conglomerate said it will spend a total of P2 billion for the five-year initiative of removing 3 million metric tons of silt and solid waste from the river.
Transport and environmental groups have slammed the planned expressway, saying that it would negatively impact public mobility, heritage, environment, and public health.
PAREX is seen to decongest traffic in Radial Road 10, EDSA, and C5. But mobility group Move As One Coalition said it would only make congestion worse, effectively resulting in increased pollution in the metropolis.
The TRB declared the project as a toll road in June 2020. – Synara Villanueva/Rappler.com
Synara Villanueva is a Rappler intern. She is an incoming fourth year journalism student from the University of Santo Tomas.