There’s no stopping Silang, a first-class municipality in Cavite province, from emerging as a new city-in-the-making with its constant growth and development—since the P35.7 billion Cavite Laguna Expressway project of MPCALA Holdings Inc. became operational three years ago.
“The opening of CALAX has been a big help to us,” Silang Mayor Kevin Anarna said, while citing that beyond having efficient transport facilities and faster flow of traffic, more businesses have sprouted and visitors have come in droves to see the town’s various attractions, which are very crucial to its cityhood by 2025.
Seen to fast-track its cityhood ambition is the soon-to-be-completed Silang (Aguinaldo) Interchange, the fifth of the eight segments of CALAX that spans 3.9 kilometers from Silang East Interchange to Aguinaldo Highway.
While the municipality—the second largest in Cavite with a total land area of 15,641 hectares—is predominantly agricultural, various industries have also risen in the area such as economic zones, business establishments, as well as commercial, real-estate travel and leisure developments.
It is now home to a light industrial park along Maguyam town road. Two more processing zones will soon rise in Sabutan area (10 hectares) and East-West Road (18 hectares), where business locators, mostly manufacturing companies, are starting to invest in, per the local chief executive.
Investors are coming in.
“Since the opening of CALAX, potential investors are coming in,” Anarna said.
Other business players have also penetrated Silang, including Alfamart, which opened its biggest distribution hub in the country six months ago.
Logistics company DHL is applying to set up its facility there.
This part of Cavite is also in the radar of major retail and mall operators. Adding to the Villar family-owned AllHome Premier, Walter Mart, founded by Wilson Lim of the Abenson Group of Companies and now part of the SM Group, is set to open shop next year.
The SM Group is also planning to put up its own mall upon the acquisition of an eight-hectare land near the Silang exit.
“Apart from businesses brought in by our new roads, infrastructure [projects like CALAX also] generate jobs. Also, they create buying power for our constituents. Because of their patronage, even small businesses like sari-sari stores make profits,” Anarna said.
“So there’s a domino effect. In return, the economy revolves, generating additional income and employment,” he said.
Due to property value appreciation brought about by public works projects, key real estate players also entered Silang, with horizontal and vertical projects of Cathay Land and Ayala Land dotting its residential areas.
The partially operational 45-km controlled-access tollway CALAX and its soon-to-open Silang (Aguinaldo) Interchange have been beneficial not only to local residents, but also to those from nearby places.
Apart from serving over 298,000 Silangeños in their daily commute, the expressway provides a smooth ride for motorists going to and from South of Luzon, including the tourists who want to see its scenic and panoramic views, heritage attractions like the Church of Nuestra Señora de Candelaria (the earliest religious site in the province having the oldest retablo in the country) and other natural wonders and attractions.
Seen to attract more local and foreign visitors, Silang is hosting two international horticulture events in January and April 2023.
“We want to be known as the ‘Botanical Garden of the Philippines,’” said Anarna who is bullish on attaining this goal with the upcoming operations of the Silang (Aguinaldo) Interchange.
Anarna said thousands of motorists going to and from South of Luzon via CALAX daily stand to benefit once the Silang (Aguinaldo) Interchange becomes operational. Upon completion, this will serve more motorists, including the 298,000 Silangeños, given the reduced traffic situation.
Current average daily traffic is 33,000 from Mamplasan to Silang Ease interchange. This is expected to increase to 40,000 when the Silang (Aguinaldo) Interchange opens, thus easing the usual bottleneck along the 41-km Aguinaldo Highway—the busiest main thoroughfare in Cavite—not to mention Governor’s Drive and Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road.
As construction works are underway, the local chief executive conceded that traffic in their area is heavy, especially during weekends.
“As of now, we don’t allow six-wheeler trucks that make are town as a pass road going to Tagaytay, Amadeo or Alfonso,” he said, while citing the communities of Maguyam, Kaong and Tibig as shortcut routes. “Due to different constructions, we closed them for the meantime for six-wheeler trucks and up to help lessen the volume of traffic.”
Hopeful for the project’s rapid completion, Anarna expects the interchange to ease the traffic, encouraging more people not only to pass by their municipality to neighboring towns and cities, but also to visit and see its natural wonders, tourist spots and other attractions.
The mayor urged the Department of Public Works and Highways and a private land owner to address the right-of-way issues of the CALAX Silang (Aguinaldo) Interchange to speed up its completion.
To date, 64 percent of the subsection of the expressway has been finished. The ROW concerns prevent the progress of continuous works, including construction of drainage and bridge, excavation and roadway earthworks and installation of fence and coco net.
“We are very willing to help MPCALA and the national government to fast track the opening of the CALAX Silang (Aguinaldo) Interchange,” Anarna said.
“Right now, we are planning to set up a meeting with the owner of the land to discuss the right-of-way issues. Maybe, we can get a compromise agreement before the end of the year,” he said.