MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P1.6 billion to partially cover right-of-way acquisitions and contract services for the Cavite-Laguna (CALA) Expressway project.
The initial budget to jump-start the project was taken out of the Public-Private Partnership Strategic Support Fund of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) budget for this year, the DBM said in a statement.
The CALA project is a P35.4 billion four-lane, 47-kilometer expressway linking the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Mamplasan Interchange in Biñan, Laguna to the Manila Cavite Tollroad Expressway in Kawit, Cavite.
“The construction of the CALA expressway would definitely improve access to transportation and open more opportunities for investment in economic and industrial zones,” Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said in the statement.
“We’re talking about greater accessibility to and from NAIA, as well to and from our seaports in Manila and Batangas, for example. But more important is the decongestion of traffic between Cavite and Laguna, so our commuters will have an easier time plying this route daily,” he added.
Under a public-private partnership scheme, P25.2 billion or 71 percent of the project will be undertaken by a private sector counterpart while the remaining P10.2 billion will be from the national government.
The implementation of the project is expected to begin this year while completion is targeted by 2018.
The project has, however, faced delays after San Miguel Corp. unit Optimal Infrastructure Development Inc. sought Malacañang’s intervention after the DPWH disqualified the company from the bidding because its bid security was four days short of the required 180 days.
Other bidders prequalified for the CALA project, which include Malaysia’s MTD Capital Bhd, MPCALA Holdings of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, and Team Orion of Ayala Corp. and Aboitiz Land Inc., asked the DPWH Bids and Awards Committee to disqualify Optimal Infrastructure.
The opening of bids pushed through on June 13, with Team Orion submitting the best bid at P11.659 billion.
This year, Abad said the department has already allotted P442 billion for public infrastructure from P165 billion in 2010.
“This figure will eventually go up to P800 billion in 2016. That’s 5 percent of the country’s GDP,” he added. (MNS)