SAN Miguel Corp. (SMC) president Ramon Ang questioned the proposed P25-billion elevated toll road project by the Ayala and SM groups.
Ang contested the proposed project, saying it would only duplicate San Miguel’s existing NAIA Expressway, which connects Pagcor Entertainment City complex, adjacent to SM’s Mall of Asia (MOA) development, to the Skyway system.
“They cannot build this project. It will cannibalize our NAIA Expressway for which we paid the government an P11-billion premium just to be able to build that. [If they want to decongest EDSA] then they should build one on EDSA,” Ang said in an interview over the weekend.
“The proposed Ayala project will affect the volume on NAIA Expressway because they are going to duplicate our project and that project has been bidded out and we spent P24 billion [on that]plus interest,” he said.
The SMC president also rejected the idea of joining the project as there is already a pending application with the Department Public Works and Highway (DPWH) and Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) to do that same project.
“They are building a skyway from MOA via Buendia, what’s the point of our building the NAIA Expressway? We have applied for a skyway from Buendia all the way to Macapagal Avenue. It’s pending at the DPWH-TRB and they’ve received it on March 9, 2017,” he said.
Ang also clarified that he talked with Jose Rene Almendras, CEO of Ayala unit AC Infrastructure Holdings, regarding the Ayala proposal.
“Ayala called saying I did not respond to their call. Then I called Secretary Almendras and he said he wanted to build a skyway from Mall of Asia connecting to my skyway passing through Buendia. I told him I have to study his suggestion and I told him to send me a proposal because this might compete with our NAIA Express way, which we have paid the government an P11- billion premium. What is the difference between MOA and Pagcor City? It will just end up duplicating our efforts for free,” he said.
Ang said he is waiting for the government to intervene. “We don’t need to do anything. If government approves it then it’ll have to pay us for damages. We will not do anything. We will wait for government to do something,”
But Ang is confident that the DPWH and TRB will reject the toll road proposal outright because it will be in conflict with the existing project.
But if the government should approve the proposed Ayala-SM toll road, San Miguel will have to invoke provisions of its own concession agreement—namely the provision on material adverse government action—that would require the government to compensate SMC.
“Material adverse government action, which is the same thing used by Ayala in MRT [Metro Rail Transit] in order to collect the money. If they approve anything that affects the concession, they will have to pay you. The taxpaying public will be inconvenienced,” Ang said.