Tuesday, 29 December 2009

SLEX extension to Lucena confirmed

Tollway takeover in 2010
Jeremiah F. de Guzman

Transfer of control over South Luzon Expressway to Manila Toll Expressway Systems Inc. has been moved to February next year, said a top official.

In a phone interview on Monday, MATES president Isaac David told Standard Today after a hearing before the Pasig City Regional Trial Court that the status quo has been extended.

Through a Toll Operation Certificate dated Nov. 27, regulators granted MATES the authority to use the SLEX facilities now owned by the government.

A temporary restraining order against immediate transfer of control was obtained by present operator Philippine National Construction Corp. effective until 1 p.m. Dec. 17.

The court requested that a status quo be maintained to avoid unforeseen violence during the takeover.

David said PNCC expressed willingness to hand over to MATES the control of the tollway.

“They requested for a one-month transition period so that PNCC employees can prepare for the takeover,” he said.

PNCC has more than 500 employees that maintain the SLEX and man its toll stations from Alabang to Sta. Rosa.

David assured PNCC employees that MATES will provide P110 million for the retrenchment of all PNCC employees and added that PNCC employees could still apply for jobs with the new management.

According to him, around 1,000 to 1,500 employees will be hired once control was transferred to MATES. This include 24/7 toll operators and construction workers for the extension of SLEX from Sta. Rosa, Laguna, to Lucena.

David also confirmed the extension from Sta. Rosa, Laguna, to Lucena this year, with an allocated budget of P10 billion.

“Two lanes, one on each side, will be constructed plus the shoulders on both sides as planned.

“This will be widened depending on the availability of the right of way,” David said, adding that the project would cover 30 months.

MATES is 40-percent owned by PNCC with 60 percent shared equally by local firm Alloy Manila Expressway Inc. and the Malaysian firm subsidiary MTD Manila Expressways Inc.

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