Metro Pacific sues government

The tollyway unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. said on Tuesday it filed an arbitration case in Geneva against the government for failure to increase road toll since 2013. 

“With the receipt of the notice by the TRB [Toll Regulatory Board]  yesterday the arbitration case has commenced already. The venue is Geneva,” said Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. and Manila North Tollways Corp. president Rodrigo Franco. 

MNTC on April 4 issued a notice of arbitration and statement of claim to the government through the TRB, consistent with the dispute resolution procedures under the existing Supplemental Toll Operation Agreement.

The operator of NLEX was seeking for a P3-billion compensation claim as of last year for the TRB’s inaction on lawful toll adjustments which were due since January 1, 2013. 

“Despite compliance with applicable legal requirements and submission of proper petitions, and even acceding to TRB’s requests to extend the amicable settlement period by more than 90 days, MNTC has not received any feasible settlement offer from the TRB,” MNTC said.  

MNTC said it was compelled to deliver the notice to preserve its rights under the STOA.

MNTC filed a petition with TRB in September 2014 for the bi-annual toll adjustment that was supposed to start on Jan. 1, 2015, as stipulated under its concession.

The new petition is on top of the one the company filed in 2012 for a toll increase scheduled in January 2013. This would bring the cumulative toll adjustment to 15 percent, of which 12 percent was long overdue.

Tolls at NLEx from Mindanao Avenue to Sta. Ines currently amount to P218 for Class 1 vehicles (cars, jeepneys, pickup trucks and vans), P544 for Class 2 vehicles (two-axle trucks, buses and vans) and P652 for Class 3 vehicles (trucks and trailers with three or more axles).

Cavitex Infrastructure Corp., the operator of Manila-Cavite Expressway also plans to file an arbitration case against the government, requesting an P800 million compensation for failure to increase toll rates. 

“Cavitex is still obtaining its internal approvals,” Franco said. 

Cavitex also proposed a toll hike for Class 1 vehicles to P27 from P22; Class 2 vehicles to P54 from P44; and Class 3 vehicles to P81 from P66.

The two companies said the periodic toll rate adjustment was a contractual right the toll operators were entitled to under the toll operation agreement.

TRB consultant for traffic management and safety Albert Suansing had said  the Commission on Audit was reviewing the petition of MNTC and Cavitex Infrastructure for toll increases. 

Suansing, however, said the current administration was unlikely to complete the review process and “probably the next administration” would act on the toll hike petition.

Topics: Metro Pacific Investments Corp. , arbitration case , Toll Regulatory Board , TRB , MNTC. NLEX
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