President Benigno Aquino 3rd and French President Francois Hollande were on hand Friday to witness the ceremonial signing of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) Business Agreement between the state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and the Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) 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.
During the ceremonial signing, Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC) and MNTC Chairman Manuel Pangilinan signed on behalf of the MNTC while the BCDA was represented by its President and Chief Executive Officer Arnel Paciano Casanova.
The MNTC also turned over a check worth P3.5 billion to the BCDA, the amount payable under the SCTEX Business Agreement upon the signing of the agreement.
“We are happy that finally, the contract is signed, and we can move on with the full operation and further upgrading and development of the SCTEX, particularly the NLEX-SCTEX toll integration as well as providing the facilities and service areas that are needed to serve the public,” Casanova said.
He added that he is pleased with the turnout of the recent SCTEX price challenge conducted by the BCDA as it upheld President Aquino’s policy of good governance.
“The price challenge was conducted in a very transparent manner. We are grateful to MNTC for keeping the faith to undergo a process of fair and transparent competition. This just proves that good governance is good economics. The seal of transparency and integrity serves as the unbreakable bond of the sanctity of this contract,” he said.
Rodrigo Franco, MNTC president, said that, “The management, operation and maintenance of the road and its facilities, the brand of customer service available, and the world class technology used in NLEX will all be extended to the SCTEX.”
For his part, Ramoncito Fernandez, president of Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), said that, “The acquisition of SCTEX is only the beginning of MPTC’s plan to link the countryside and Metro Manila and boost socioeconomic development in the regions.” MNTC is a subsidiary of MPTC.
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 for 28 years until October 30, 2043.
Earlier this month 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 toll integration, which is expected to cost some P650 million and will be shouldered by MNTC, will improve lane throughput to 800 transactions from 200 transactions per hour. It is expected to be operational before the end of the year.
The BCDA is the builder and owner of the SCTEX. Voltaire Palaña