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BCDA, MNTC Sign Business and Operating Agreement on SCTEX

With the signing today of the Business and Operating Agreement for SCTEX by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and the Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC), motorists will soon enjoy the benefits of integration in the form of seamless travel between the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).

Under the Agreement, MNTC will operate and manage SCTEX for 33 years, while relieving BCDA of the heavy financial burden of paying the latter’s P34-billion debt to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The JICA loan will mature in 2041. True to the original intent of the Agreement, BCDA is provided sufficient funds to repay its JICA loan through revenue sharing and agreed-on advances during shortfalls. The Agreement satisfies BCDA’s requirement to cover the state firm’s debt service obligation to JICA.

“This Agreement is our contribution to the Aquino Government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program. We see it as innovative because it frees the Government of the heavy debt-servicing burden. In other words, by virtue of this Agreement, we can say the SCTEX was built at no cost for the Government,” BCDA chair Felicito Payumo said.

He said the pact also assures the MNTC of a reasonable return to cover commercial risks as SCTEX co-concessionaire.

For his part, MNTC chair Manuel V. Pangilinan stressed that “the contract is truly reflective of the intentions and spirit of the partnership from the beginning.”

MNTC’s takeover of the SCTEX, Pangilinan said, “signals the advent of a new era in comfortable and safe travel offered by a seamless traffic along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) as strategically linked to the SCTEX that both meet world-class standards.”

BCDA president and CEO Arnel Casanova hailed the signing of the contract, saying “it represents a fusion of the strengths of the two partners that would ensure the maximum benefits to the public and the country.”

He added that “the Agreement is a major breakthrough towards establishing a good model for public-private partnership (PPP) vigorously pushed by the Aquino administration as the linchpin of national economic development.”

“The Government has the fixed resources and policy environment that assure the private sector of stability and security, plus a positive regulatory atmosphere founded on transparency,” Casanova said.

The MNTC said that the deal paves the way for the company to provide the best services to motorists using SCTEX-- at par with the high standards applied on the NLEX.As SCTEX co-concessionaire, the MNTC will have overall management of the entire operations and supervision of the tollway, linking Subic Freeport Zone in Zambales, Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga, and the Central Techno Park in Tarlac.

MNTC will also provide all necessary ancillary facilities and equipment, plus resources needed to run SCTEX efficiently – including assuring security and safety for motorists on the tollway round the clock.