By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 2, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Ayala Corp., one of the country’s biggest conglomerates, has so far completed 30 percent of the P2 billion Daang Hari South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Project and is still aiming to finish the venture by mid-2014 despite opposition from a property firm, a ranking official said.
“It’s now 30 percent completed. We will go full blast once the rainy season is over. We’re still targeting middle of 2014,” said Eric Francia, Ayala Corp. managing director.
He also said the company would push through with the building of a mall within the project area, saying that it was part of the concession agreement.
“That’s stipulated in the concession agreement. When we bid for this we had to look at non-toll revenues and we clarified that with the government before the bid and this was available to all bidders. The mall has always been in the concession agreement,” Francia said.
Businessman Manuel Villar’s Vista Land & Lifescapes has asked the government to re-bid the project, saying that Ayala revised the original design it submitted to the government. Vista Land plans to build a mall in the same area.
However, Francia said that there have been no changes in the design submitted by the Ayala Group.
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“Before the bid, we already had the design submitted for the SLEX interface and mall and both of these were clarified before the bid,” he said.
He said Ayala Corp. intends to sit down with concerned parties to clarify thorny issues.
Touted as the first major infrastructure project bid out under the Aquino administration’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program, the Daang-Hari-SLEX project involves the construction of a P2 billion highway that will connect Cavite to Metro Manila.
It seeks to decongest traffic in Cavite, Las Pinas and Muntinlupa as well as nearby areas.
In 2010, the Aquino administration launched the PPP program as its flagship project for infrastructure investments.