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Date Posted : November 11, 2015

MABALACAT, PAMPANGA – The state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) formally turned over today (05 November 2015), the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) to the Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC) in a simple ceremony held at the SCTEX Toll Operations Center Building.

It will be recalled that last October 16, 2015, President Benigno S. Aquino III approved the Supplemental Toll Operations Agreement (STOA) amongst BCDA, MNTC and the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) formally granting the concession to manage, operate and maintain the 94-km toll road to MNTC.

During the ceremonial turnover, BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Arnel Paciano D. Casanova presented to MNTC President and CEO Rodrigo Franco the SCTEX flag that symbolically recognized MNTC as the private sector concessionaire of the SCTEX for the next 28 years. 

The MNTC, in turn, handed over a check for the amount of P3.5-B to the BCDA as upfront payment, a condition under the SCTEX Business Agreement.

For BCDA President Arnel Casanova, this historic event marks the beginning of a long standing Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the BCDA and MNTC to provide world-class service to its motorists.

“For starters, it will offer a more efficient infrastructure with a seamless travel between the NLEX and the SCTEX not to mention the use of other technologies in the future such as radio frequency ID (RFID) to make it even more efficient for both the operator and motorists,” Casanova said.

He noted that the price challenge from which MNTC bagged the contract was conducted in a very transparent manner and a result of the Aquino administration’s policy of good governance more popularly known as “Tuwid na Daan” or the “Straight Path.”  “This just proves that good governance is good economics,” Casanova said.

For her part, BCDA Chairperson Ma. Aurora Geotina-Garcia noted that the SCTEX Business Agreement signed by the BCDA and MNTC, is in itself a benchmark for other PPPs to replicate.

“The SCTEX is a viable government project that is seen to generate some P275 billion pesos in revenues under the 28-year contract period. Of this amount, 50 percent or P137 billion will be the share of BCDA which will be used to pay the P25 billion JICA loan used to build the SCTEX. The remaining revenues will be used to fund future government programs and projects for the benefit of the Filipino people,” BCDA Chairperson Garcia said.

MNTC President and CEO Rodrigo Franco said with MNTC at the helm of the SCTEX operations, motorists can expect additional investments in SCTEX infrastructure to further improve service.  “Our investment in the SCTEX will focus on the delivery of better service to the motoring public. Improved service is good investment as this will bring in more motorists to patronize the toll road,” Franco said.

Franco cited as an example CCTV cameras that will be installed for real time monitoring of the entire stretch of the SCTEX. “This will allow for faster response time when motorists need assistance or rescue, and at the same time, make the toll road safer for them.”

He noted that with the integration of the NLEX and SCTEX, the queuing of vehicles at the SCTEX Mabalacat Toll Plaza will be a thing of the past. The toll booths will be removed allowing vehicles to experience one seamless journey from the NLEX to the SCTEX and vice versa. It is expected to be fully operational by the second quarter of 2016.

He also said that by next year, MNTC will embark on a three-year asphalt overlay project of the entire 94 kilometer toll road. “Once completed by the end-2018, motorists will enjoy and experience a far more smoother ride, increasing the level of comfort and convenience during travel.” He added that the asphalt overlay will only be conducted during the dry months of the year.

For his part, Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) President and CEO Ramoncito Fernandez said MPTC, the toll road arm of the Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), is very happy with MNTC's takeover of the SCTEX concession.

“Our team looks forward to implementing world-class seamless travel for our NLEX and SCTEX motorists. We remain committed to delivering safe, convenient travel to our motorists,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez also expressed his appreciation to BCDA for the confidence it showed in its partnership with MNTC.  He also acknowledged the leadership role of the Toll Regulatory Board that made the SCTEX turnover to MNTC possible.

“The concession further solidifies Metro Pacific's leadership in the Philippine toll road industry and MPTC will continue to innovate and pursue technologies to ensure efficient delivery of our mission,” he said.

MPTC is the largest toll road operator in the country, operating 60 percent of the country’s 320 kms of toll roads. MPTC operates the NLEX, CAVITEX and the SCTEX with a total of 194 kms of toll roads.

Under the SCTEX Business Agreement, MNTC shall be responsible for the management services, toll collection, traffic safety and security management, toll road and facilities maintenance, including greening and landscaping, public relations and marketing, and all necessary support services. The agreement also includes the payment of concession fees equivalent to 50 percent of SCTEX gross toll revenues. The contract period will be until October 30, 2043.

Last February, no less than the President Aquino and French President Francois Hollande witnessed the ceremonial signing of the SCTEX Business Agreement by Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) and MNTC Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan on behalf of the MNTC, and BCDA President Casanova held at the Malacañan Palace. French firm EGIS Projects SA owns 10 percent of MNTC and is part of the consortium that will provide the toll equipment for the upgrading of the SCTEX systems.

Last January, the BCDA and MNTC signed the NLEX-SCTEX toll integration agreement that involves the conversion of separate NLEX and SCTEX toll collection systems into a single system that should allow for more efficient toll collection and faster movement of traffic for motorists.

The BCDA is the builder and owner of the SCTEX.