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DPWH ‘open’ to San Miguel Corp. plan extending TPLEx to Ilocos Sur

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The Department of Public Works and Highways has confirmed it is expecting an unsolicited proposal from San Miguel Corp. to extend the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) toll road to Ilocos Sur.

THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has confirmed it is expecting an unsolicited proposal from San Miguel Corp. (SMC) to extend the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) toll road to Ilocos Sur.

DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar told reporters last week that he has been informed of the SMC proposal.

“It’s not yet complete. They have a proposal but we’re asking them to complete it. So it’s not yet officially done. It still needs details,” he said.

According to the DPWH public information office, the proposal will have to go through a review from the engineers of the department’s Public-Private Partnership Service. The acquisition of the right of way for the proposed alignment of the extension is one of the most important considerations, an official with the office who asked not to be identified said.

Mr. Villar has said that the department is “very open” to the plan, as SMC is also the government’s concession holder for TPLEx. But he noted that the new proposal is not part of the existing concession agreement.

“They are the existing operator for TPLEx, so it would make sense that they propose to do this,” he added.

As an unsolicited proposal, the TPLEx extension to Ilocos Sur requires original proponent certification from the DPWH. From there it would be passed on to the National Economic and Development Authority for approval from the Board. After that, it will be subjected to a Swiss challenge where other companies may submit counterproposals, with SMC holding the right to match these offers.

Aside from the proposal to extend the toll road up to Ilocos Sur, the construction of the TPLEx extension to Rosario, La Union is also pending. DPWH earlier said it is expecting its completion by June 2019. — Denise A. Valdez