By: Myla Iglesias, As seen on, August 24, 2020

The P22.4-billion Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas expressway (CTBEx) project is expected to secure the approval of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board this year, despite delays due to the community quarantine.

Mark Villar, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) secretary, expressed confidence Metro Pacific Tollways Corp.’s (MPTC) unsolicited proposal will get the NEDA board’s nod within the year.

“I have direct coordination with Secretary (Karl Kendrick) Chua (of NEDA) regarding (CTBEx) and we have two teams coordinating directly to speed up the process. It is one of our priority projects and I like to see it approved very soon, definitely this year,” Villar said in a recent virtual press briefing.

DPWH submitted to NEDA the responses to its comments and recommendation on the project last June 11 and July 13, 2020.

MPTC, through its units Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp. and Metro Pacific Tollways South Corp., obtained the original proponent status to build and operate the 50.42-kilometer expressway in the south two years ago.

The unsolicited proposal went through the first round of NEDA approval last December, but the second and final approval was delayed due to the enhanced community quarantine imposed in March.

DPWH is also expected to commence the 60-day Swiss challenge period this year, once the NEDA board approval is obtained.

The Swiss challenge will allow other companies to submit a proposal that will challenge that of the original proponent, which in turn has the right to match the offer.

MPTC said it will spend an additional P25 billion if it secures the CTBEx project, following a Swiss challenge expected by the third quarter of 2020.

The P25-billion investment is on top of the P101-billion budget for its seven projects under construction which are targeted to be completed in the next four years.

The CTBEx project has three sections. The first section, estimated to cost P9 billion, will pass through Silang, Cavite, Pook, Aguinaldo, Amadeo interchanges and has a spur to Tagaytay, spanning 17.06 kilometers. Section 2 is 10.32 km. and estimated to cost P6 billion. The third section spans 22.83 km.

The project aims to reduce travel time going to Tagaytay and Nasugbu from Manila and vice versa.

Travel time will be shortened in two major routes: Governor’s Drive to Nasugbu, where the usual 1 hour and 42 minutes will be reduced to 44 minutes, equivalent to 56 percent time savings; and the Sta. Rosa to Tagaytay route, where the usual travel of 2 hours will be reduced to 46 minutes, equivalent to 62 percent time savings.

MPTC is a unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. which also operates major toll roads in Luzon: the North Luzon, Subic-Clark-Tarlac, Manila-Cavite, Cavite-Laguna and Cavitex C5 Link expressways.