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By:  Miguel R. Camus 

Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. has paid the national government almost P10 billion in concession fees for the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (Calax), a 44.6-kilometer expressway that is expected to fully open by 2022.The concession fee was part of the company’s P27.3-billion winning bid for the Calax, a public-private partnership project during the Aquino administration, in 2015.

Metro Pacific Tollways, through subsidiary MPCALA Holdings Inc., paid the Department of Public Works and Highways the second tranche of the concession fee amounting to P4.37 billion. The first tranche of P5.46 billion was paid on July 10, 2015.

It earlier committed to pay the full amount in six tranches under the 35-year concession period of Calax.

“It is our privilege to be government’s private sector partner in this project of national significance. And despite this COVID-19 pandemic, our work continues to serve our communities and our people,” Metro Pacific Tollways chair Manuel V. Pangilinan said in a statement.

The toll road operator earlier advanced tax payments to the Bureau of Internal Revenue amounting to P1.03 billion.

“This payment will help enable the national government to fund development projects, high-priority resource management programs, operations and concession-support activities,” Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar said.The four-lane Calax is partially operational. Last November, the first 10-km portion between Mamplasan, Biñan City and Santa Rosa City was opened to commuters. Construction is under way in the next 7.2-km section between Santa Rosa City and Silang, Cavite. INQ

PHOTO shows DPWH Secretary Mark Villar accepting the symbolic check payment from MPTC chairman Manuel Pangilinan. Looking on are, from left, MPTC president Rodrigo Franco, MPTS CFO and COO Christopher Lizo, MPCALA Holdings president and general manager Roberto V. Bonita.

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