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Saturday, March 2, 2024

DOF: Past ‘inaction’ leads to big toll hike

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Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno blamed over the weekend the “inaction” of previous administrations for the piled-up toll increases at the North Luzon Expressway.

“The NLEX rate increase is for staggered implementation—not a one-time implementation. It is staggered over several years,” Diokno said in a statement.

“The increase piled up because of the inaction of previous administrations. The Ferdinand Marcos Jr. administration had to act on petitions from 2010,” Diokno said.

Diokno said the petitions were carefully studied and analyzed and approved objectively and fairly.

“[The] government needs to perform its contractual obligations under the STOAs [supplemental toll operation agreements]. We’re promoting PPPs [public-private partnerships]. And the government will have no credibility as a partner if it does not comply with its contractual obligations under past PPP contracts,” Diokno said.

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Motorists will have to pay higher toll at the North Luzon Expressway starting June 15.

NLEX Corp., which manages the highway, said an additional P7 would be collected in the open system, while P0.36 per kilometer would be collected in the closed system. The Toll Regulatory Board approved the adjustments.

Under the new toll matrix, an additional fee of P7 would be charged against Class 1 vehicles, P17 for Class 2 vehicles and P19 for Class 3 vehicles.

Those traveling NLEX between Metro Manila and Mabalacat City will pay an additional P33 for Class 1, P81 for Class 2 and P98 for Class 3 vehicles.

The open system covers the cities of Navotas, Valenzuela and Caloocan in Metro Manila and Meycauayan and Marilao in Bulacan.

The closed system covers the portion between Bocaue, Bulacan and Sta. Ines, Mabalacat City, Pampanga, including Subic-Tipo.

NLEX Corp. said the new rates were part of the authorized periodic adjustments due 2012, 2014, 2018 and 2020.

This year’s adjustment is the fourth and last tranche of the 2012 and 2014 adjustments.

NLEX Corp. said it would continue to honor the discount given to public utility jeepneys under the NLEX Pass-ada and Tsuper Card programs.

NLEX Corp. is a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Investment Corp.-led Metro Pacific Tollways Corp.

MPIC in March expressed interest in acquiring the government’s 3.46-percent stake in NLEX Corp., the operator of NLEX and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.

MPTC president and chief executive Rodrigo Franco said the company and the SM Group, which also has a minority stake in NLEX, have the right of first refusal on the government’s stake in the toll road operator.

“We are still waiting for the terms and for the government’s asking price,” Franco said.

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