MVP: NLEX-SLEX connector to be delayed beyond Aquino term

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MVP: NLEX-SLEX connector to be delayed beyond Aquino term
Manuel V. Pangilinan, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) chairman, says the project is likely to be completed in mid-2017 because of the Swiss challenge on their unsolicited project proposal

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The P18-billion ($402.21-million*) North Luzon and South Luzon expressway (NLEX-SLEX connector road) will not be ready by 2016, as the proposed Swiss Challenge will delay the target completion within the term of President Benigno Aquino III.

The project is likely to be completed in-2017, following the Department of Justice (DOJ) opinion to subject the proposal to a Swiss Challenge, said Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC).

The DOJ had earlier issued an opinion that the project must go through the process as the joint venture between MPIC’s Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corporation (MPTDC) and state-run Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC) is illegal.

“We had anticipated finishing sometime middle of 2016 by the time the President steps down. Now [with the Swiss challenge], it may be completed by middle of 2017 onwards,” Pangilinan said Monday, October 6.

The project will be resubmitted by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board for approval.The NEDA Board approved the amendment or extension of the existing joint venture between MPTDC and PNCC, including the supplemental toll operations agreement (STOA) to cover the extension of the franchise of NLEX under Presidential Decree No. 1894.

The NLEX-SLEX connector road project was originally submitted to the Department of Public Works and Highways in May 2010 under the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) scheme.

Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson confirmed that the proposed connector road would have to be resubmitted to the NEDA Board for approval because the common segment in the original unsolicited proposal would no longer be included.

Singson added that the Swiss Challenge process would likely be completed by the first quarter of 2015. “To be realistic, it might go about 90 days so it might be early first quarter next year,” he said.

The process can take 3 to 10 months from the publication of the Invitation to Bid to the awarding of the project. Under the process, the original proponent of the unsolicited proposal has the right to match the highest bid.

MPIC agrees to subjecting its unsolicited connector road project proposal to a Swiss Challenge.

The project will connect NLEX and SLEX via two roads. Segment 9, worth P1.9 billion ($42.5 million), will connect NLEX to MacArthur Highway in Valenzuela and should be completed in August this year. Segment 10, worth P10 billion ($223.50 million) starts from the Mindanao Avenue exit of NLEX to North Harbor and should be complete by August 2015.

NLEX would be connected to the common alignment at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Sta Mesa to the P26.5-billion ($592.19 million) Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 project of diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC). (READ: Why same firms are vying for PH infra projects) –

*$1 = P44.75

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