Conglomerates San Miguel Corp. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. are not sitting idly in this pandemic time. They have vowed to speed up the construction of major infrastructure projects that are silver linings in the global pandemic because of their ability to create more jobs and stimulate the economy.
“We were approached by the government asking us whether we can accelerate our projects so that we can create employment and put money in the circulation so that it helps stimulate the economy,” Rodrigo Franco, president and chief executive of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., a unit of MPCI, said.
“We took up that challenge so that we accelerate the construction of our toll road projects from Mindanao Avenue going to the Port Area, we consider this stimulus projects. We do that because it has benefits in terms of mobility but at the same time during the construction we may employ a significant number of people,” he added.
San Miguel is treading a similar track. It is addressing the country’s congestion problems today, as the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to significantly impact the economy.
San Miguel president Ramon Ang says “now is really the time to double-up our efforts and continue all our major investments to help alleviate the country’s congestion problems, to keep people working, and, in completing these infrastructure projects, prepare our country for economic recovery and further growth.”
San Miguel recently opened to the public the Skyway Stage 3, which brings to reality the long-held dream of seamlessly connecting southern and northern Luzon.
It is also a solution to traffic in Metro Manila, which has only grown through the decades. With Skyway 3, motorists are now able to bypass EDSA and other busy streets and enjoy travel time from Buendia to Balintawak in just 20 minutes, and Alabang to Balintawak in only 30 minutes.
“This is a game-changer for our economy, especially now that we are still dealing with the pandemic. By providing seamless access between north and south, we also unlock the true potential of our provinces,” Ang added.
Ang committed to President Rodrigo Duterte that San Miguel’s efforts to help the country and the economy, will not stop with the Skyway Stage 3 project.
“We will continue work to further decongest Metro Manila by linking east and west of the metropolis, through the Pasig River Expressway (Parex) project,”Ang said.
The Pasig River Expressway project is a 19.4-kilometer, six-lane elevated expressway along the banks of the Pasig River that will complete the north-south, east-west link, connecting R-10 in Manila, EDSA and C5, and decongesting Rizal, Cainta and Marikina. It will provide faster, alternative access to the business districts Makati, Ortigas, and BGC. He said the project can be completed by 2023.
NLEX Corp., a unit of MPTC, meanwhile, has carried on with construction and enhancement projects despite the restrictions brought by the community quarantine.
The lockdowns have significantly reduced road traffic volume, affecting the company’s bottom line. But NLEX has nevertheless continued to improve its services to boost safety and convenience for motorists, as well as build quality infrastructure projects to help revitalize business activities.
Among the projects the tollway firm is currently building are the 8-kilometer NLEX Connector, the upgrade of the 5-kilometer Candaba Viaduct, and the safety repairs along strategic bridges.
NLEX president and general manager J. Luigi Bautista says the NLEX Connector, one of the most anticipated elevated expressway projects, is in full swing with the first 5-kilometer section on track for completion by the end of the year. It uses the existing right-of-wayof the Philippine National Railways (PNR).
The first section, which is between the Caloocan Interchange along C3 Road/5th Ave. and España Blvd. in Sampaloc, Manila, is now 40 percent complete. Bautista said construction activities in the segment have now reached Abad Santos and Blumentritt in Manila. Once completed, the section will have on and off ramps in España and will make NLEX accessible from the University Belt area.
Another project, next 3-kilometer section between España Blvd. and the vicinity of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa, Manila, is expected to begin construction soon. The entire 8-kilometer elevated expressway will connect NLEX, Harbor Link, and Skyway Stage 3.
To ensure the safety and driving comfort of motorists, NLEX Corp. continues its series of upgrades on the Candaba Viaduct. The bridge is situated between Pulilan, Bulacan, and Apalit, Pampanga.
Another mega project in the works is San Miguel’s Manila International Airport project in Bulacan province. Touted as the single-largest investment ever in the Philippines, the airport project will connect to major thoroughfares in the metropolis. It will have four-parallel runways and modern, world-class facilities.
Ang set the opening date of the massive airport project for 2025. Two major expressways connecting to the airport will also open by 2023.
“We are very confident on our economy and its recovery,” says Ang.