Report: Controversial PAREX construction on hold, but might still proceed as planned

It has been two months since San Miguel Corporation (SMC) seemed to drop the construction of PAREX or the Pasig River Expressway. As it turns out, the project may very well push through if we are to follow reports on its current status and following reported statements from SMC President and CEO Ramon S. Ang.

Concerns surrounding PAREX being addressed, SMC cannot withdraw project

Smc San Miguel Corporation Parex Push Through Inline 03 Min

Photo: SMC

Despite the announcement in March, reports came in that were quite opposite to SMC’s stand on the matter. Various reports have quoted Toll Regulatory Board Executive Director Alvin Carullo as saying “Technically, it is still on the table because they have not given the confirmation that they are terminating the contract or the project.”

“We reached out to SMC Infrastructure regarding the reported withdrawal or abandonment of the project. So far, we have not received any official communication from SMC Infra. If San Miguel unilaterally withdraws, the government has no financial obligations. However, if the government terminates the project, there will be legal and financial consequences,” he added.

Smc San Miguel Corporation Parex Push Through Inline 04 Min

Photo: Department of Public Works and Highways

Other reports have also stated that just yesterday, San Miguel Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Ang stated “We cannot [withdraw]. We are addressing the concerns, but it is currently on hold.”

As it stands, reports have indicated that PAREX is “nearing completion of its final engineering design, but the TRB has extended the deadline for submitting the final engineering design by six months to allow for further communication with SMC Infra”.

Smc San Miguel Corporation Parex Cancel Inline 01 Min

PAREX has an estimated PHP 95B budget. It will be an elevated, two-direction, 19.37-kilometer expressway with 3 lanes in both directions. Its construction will pass through (and above) the Pasig River from Radial Road 10 in Manila and the proposed South East Metro Manila Expressway at Circumferential Road 6.

The main issues that caused SMC‘s intended “cancellation” of construction stem from complaints and statements that it is anti-poor or an eyesore.

“If the public thinks that it is not good for the public welfare, hindi namin gagawin ‘yun [we will not do it],” Ang said on these concerns.

If you were to weigh on, do you think PAREX should be constructed? Will it help the traffic situation along and around EDSA? Will it serve a bigger and better purpose, or are those opposing it in the right? Let us know what you think in the comments below. We’ll be following these developments very closely.

Mikko Juangco
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