July 14, 2022

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Driving the economy through infrastructure developments

Infrastructure has long been held crucial for economic development. The Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), for its part, develops tollway infrastructure for Filipinos to deliver a better mobility experience and help boost the economy.

The tollways infrastructure unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., MPTC is the country’s biggest toll road developer and operator in terms of combined length of expressways in kilometers, vehicle traffic volume, revenue levels, and asset base. Its infrastructures provide connection and accessibility to several regions, with projects in Metro Manila, North and South Luzon, and Visayas.

MPTC recently opened the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), which provided a connection from mainland Cebu in Cebu City to the municipality of Cordova. The 8.9 km toll bridge is expected to provide a way for at least 50,000 vehicles daily and help address the traffic on the existing Marcelo Fernan Bridge and Mandaue-Mactan Bridge. It is also designed with a symbolic lighted cross on the twin pylons, signifying Cebu’s role as the cradle of Catholic devotion in the country.

But beyond providing an efficient journey for motorists and an iconic landmark for Cebuanos, CCLEX is seen to be an impetus for economic growth and boost investments not only in Cebu City and Cordova but in the Cebu province and Visayas region as well.

“This is the largest single investment anybody’s made in the region,” MPTC Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said.

“Our vision is to help connect the Philippines,” he added. “The bridge could be a catalyst for the economic development of Cebu. We believe this project will change the lives of our people.”

MPTC’s North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), meanwhile, connects Metro Manila to the northern provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga. Also among the concessions of MPTC’s NLEX Corporation, formerly Manila North Tollways Corporation, is the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), which was awarded to NLEX Corp. by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority in 2015.

NLEX Corp. has also opened the NLEX Harbor Link elevated section between the new Caloocan Interchange, C3 Road, and the Navotas Interchange in 2020 as well as the expansion of Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX) last year.

Currently, it works on the NLEX Connector, an 8-km elevated road from the end of NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10 at the C3 Road in Caloocan City to the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa, Manila. The NLEX Connector seeks to deliver a more efficient route for trucks, thereby allowing unhampered delivery of goods and eventually contributing to economic development in the areas.

Manila-Cavite Expressway (Cavitex) — WIKIMEDIA COMMONS | Ervin Malicdem

To the South Luzon, MPTC’s Manila–Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX), which stretches from Roxas Boulevard to Cavite, is made to bolster the commercial link between Metro Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, and Batangas.

Meanwhile, its Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) provided connection from CAVITEX in Kawit, Cavite to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Mamplasan Interchange in Biñan, Laguna. The entire 45-km stretch is targeted to be finished and expected to serve 50,000 cars before this year ends, according to MPTC. CALAX is also being primed to be a green expressway, equipped with resource-saving and emission-reduction technologies such as LED fixtures and solar panels as well as by planting trees or cultivating biodiverse areas along the expressway.

Beyond the Philippines, MPTC, through MPT Asia, also has significant stakes in two infrastructure companies in Indonesia and Vietnam.

MPTC also sought to deliver an improved mobility experience apart from providing tollways. Through its subsidiary firm MPT Mobility, it offers cutting-edge mobility solutions powered by digital technology. The new company is a conglomeration of business units that provides digitally-driven solutions. It consists of MPT OneHub, MPT Drive & Dine, Easytrip Services Corp., DibzTech Inc, SpotOn Advertising, and Southbend Express Services Inc. Soon, it will also launch MPT DriveHub.

MPT Mobility, according to MPTC President and CEO Rodrigo Franco, will “play a key role in the sustainability of businesses associated with transport and travel infrastructure and digitalization.”

MPTC made some efforts as well to help address certain difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Back in the early months of the pandemic, the company offered free toll fees to medical frontliners who use the NLEX and SCTEX. NLEX Corp. also reported that it provided special and exclusive access along NLEX for IATF quarantine teams, Department of Health workers, medical support groups, and patients heading to the quarantine facility at Philippine Arena Complex.

Moreover, the company donated 350 hospital beds to the quarantine facility  at Philippine International Convention Center and protective personal equipment to public hospitals.

MPTC also provided food packs to barangays within its network of expressways who were affected by the enhanced community quarantine. In addition, MPTC subsidiary Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corp.  also turned over its livelihood assistance to 18 Cordova fisherfolk organizations in 2020, hoping the program would support the fishermen in their recovery during the pandemic. — Chelsey Keith P. Ignacio