Pangasinan Link Expressway 1 gets Prov’l Board’s nod

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – The  Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Pangasinan has unanimously approved a resolution authorizing Gov. Ramon Guico III to enter into and sign a joint venture agreement and tollway concession agreement with San Miguel Holdings Corporation for the implementation of the Pangasinan Link Expressway (PLEX) project phase one. 

The resolution was approved after a Notice of Award was issued to San Miguel Holdings Corporation on Monday as the sole bidder for the project.

“Last July 7 at 5:01 p.m., the invitation to apply for eligibility and to submit a proposal in the PLEX has come to its conclusion. Nobody else submitted, no private sector participant/s submitted their proposal, thereby, concluding the Swiss Challenge phase of this project. The joint venture selection committee submitted their recommendation to approve the original proponent as the winning bidder on July 8,” Guico said during the SP session.

He said the joint venture selection committee submitted their recommendation to approve the original proponent, the San Miguel Holdings Corporation, as the winning bidder.

“It’s a sweetheart deal as it will be at no expense to the province,” Guico said in an interview on Monday. Pangasinan, he said will not spend a single centavo on this project, but the province will be a major partner in terms of ownership and in terms of revenue.

Guico said phase one of the PLEX project will cover 42.76 kilometer (km) stretch from Binalonan town to Lingayen, he provincial capital town.

The project will cover 6.9 km from Binalonan to Manaoag, then 11.30 km from Manaoag to Calasiao, then 2.39 km from Calasiao to Lingayen towns, covering a stretch of 22.17 km.

Under the agreement, the province will be entitled to a 5% share of the toll revenue and commercial development revenues of the project from the start of the concession period, he said.

“The provincial government is also entitled to the 30% of the earnings before taxes after the proponent has exceeded a project internal rate of return (PIRR) of 10%.” If the PIRR exceeds 12%, the province will share 70 percent of earnings before tax.

The San Miguel Holdings Corporation submitted its unsolicited proposal to the joint venture selection committee in May this year.

Vice Governor Mark Ronald Lambino said in a recent interview that the agreement will provide a better and safer road network in the Ilocos Region, expedite the development of new growth centers and industries, and boost economic growth in the province.

The project is expected to shorten travel time from Tarlac-Pangasinan-Expressway to Lingayen town from 90 minutes down to half an hour or less, Lambino said. “This will also spur economic growth along areas of development of the expressway,” he said.

Lambino added that although the provincial government has already committed PHP1 billion for the acquisition of land, the project will be fully subsidized by the lone proponent. (PNA)