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Gwen wants Capitol to take over Cebu Expressway project through PPP

By: Carl Lorenciana - CDN Digital-Editor | March 16,2024 - 01:10 PM

A portion of Metro Cebu Expressway

The still unfinished Mtero Cebu Expressway project.    | Contributed Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Governor Gwendolyn Garcia offered to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to let the Provincial Government take over the Metro Cebu Expressway project as it eyes to implement it through a public-private partnership (PPP).

“Accept the fact that the Province of Cebu is open to a public-private partnership and give it to the LGU to invite interested parties to propose a diversion highway from Naga all the way to Danao,” the governor told DPWH officials during a meeting on Friday, March 15, with the captains of barangays affected by the project.

DPWH-7 is the implementing agency of the Metro Cebu Expressway project which has been facing environmental and construction failure issues.

The move comes amidst mounting issues, notably highlighted by a construction failure incident last year at one of project’s environmentally sensitive sections in Naga City.

READ MORE: Cracks in Naga City barangay worry residents, mayor

Garcia has emphasized the need for a more efficient approach to tackle the challenges faced by the Cebu Expressway project. She asserted that the involvement of a private entity through a PPP could potentially streamline the execution process and ensure a faster pace of development.

The 73.7-kilometer expressway, designed to link the cities of Naga in the south and Danao in the north as an alternative highway, has encountered significant hurdles under the management of the DPWH. The recent setback in Naga City further underscored the urgency for a strategic intervention to salvage the project’s momentum.

“We are in the best position because we can deal with our local government units,” the governor said of the Capitol’s capability to handle the Cebu Expressway project with the private sector.

DPWH is expected to respond on the Capitol’s offer early next month, as officials present at the meeting, led by DPWH-7 planning chief Engr. Nonato Paylado are asked to relay this to DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan.

“We are highly capable of entering into a PPP at no expense to the national government, at greater speeds with more efficiency and no hidden costs,” she asserted.

READ: Cebu City eyes Bulacao to Talamban subway project

The Cebu Expressway project is not the first time Capitol would partner with the private sector in pursuing large-scale projects, as evident in its existing and upcoming PPP projects with various private companies.

“We can take care of our own infrastructure, because we can – we will,” she said.

She said the Capitol has already “earned a reputation in the business community for being straightforward” in dealing with projects.

Capitol has existing joint ventures with Filinvest Land and Manila Water. Today, it is also set to sign a joint venture deal with Spain-based Acciona Energia Global to build a 150-megawatt solar plant in Daanbantayan, northern Cebu.

READ: Gov’t warned vs relying on Chinese ODA, urged to strengthen PPPs instead

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TAGS: Gwen Garcia, infrastructure, Metro Cebu Expressway, PPP

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