By: Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star ), As seen on, July 13, 2020 – 12:00am.

MANILA, Philippines — The government is seeking to accelerate the approval of the P22.43-billion Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas Expressway (CTBEX) proposal of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC).

“We’re looking to expedite the CTBEX with the NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority),” Public Works and Highways Mark Villar said.

“In fact, I am currently in talks with acting Secretary Karl Chua now to fast-track all the necessary information,” he said.

MPTC unit-MPCALA Holdings Inc. has been granted the original proponent status (OPS) by the DPWH for its CTBEX proposal in July 2018.

It is one of the first projects that have been granted OPS by the DPWH under the current administration.

The P22.43 billion proposal will connect to the west of Silang East Interchange of the Cavite Laguna Expressway and will pass through Silang, Pook, Amadeo, Tagaytay, Mendez, Alfonso, Magallanes, Tuy and Nasugbu.

The project was conceived in early 2016 in line with MPTC’s desire and commitment to help bring progress to the western part of Southern Luzon.

Villar said the DPWH is hopeful that a Swiss challenge for the project could commence very soon.

“We are focused on this project. We’d like to expand the road network in the south,” he said.

Last January, MPCALA president and general manager Bobby Bontia said the company’s unsolicited proposal has already secured the first round of approval from NEDA.

“NEDA is reviewing, together with the DPWH, so they finished the first pass. We are up for the second pass because NEDA has a first and second approval,” Bontia has said.

MPCALA was earlier hoping that the Swiss challenge for the project could be finished within the first half and was eyeing to proceed with the construction early next year should it win the project.