The country urgently needs to build more expressways via Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to be more competitive, stressed Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) President Ramoncito Fernandez during the recent Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines, Inc. (EJAP) Forum.
Already, the Philippines is lagging behind all of its Southeast Asian neighbors, with just 296.5 kilometers of expressways, or 25 kilometers of expressway per million capital city population.
Malaysia ranks the highest with 2,717 kilometers of expressways and a ratio of 453 kilometers per one million people, followed by Indonesia with over 791 kms and a ratio of 77.7 kms per million and Thailand, at 309 kilometers, with 26 kilometers per million.
And the Philippines' traffic congestion problem only worsens as urban population expands, travel demand and vehicles on the road constantly increase, he warned.
At present, MPTC operates 852 lane-kilometers which accounts for the bulk, or 59%, of toll roads in the country.
In the next five years, MPTC shall continue to be the country's leading toll road developer through a three-pronged approach, maintaining its robust financial position while enhancing shareholder returns, expanding its current toll road portfolio and strengthening its position as a leading toll road developer.
However, Fernandez reiterated the need to build more expressways in the country immediately.
"Public-private partnership is the most optimal solution to address this need," he noted. "Both public and private sectors must perform their part and work together."
For its part, the Philippine government requested the the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to conduct a master plan on High Standard Highway (HSH) Network Development in the country.
The HSH will provide high level of traffic services by assuring high speed mobility and safe travel in order to support socio-economic activities in strategic regions as well as the whole archipelago.
So far, the HSH masterplan recommended building 21,236 kms of roads from 2010 to 2016. Of the total 585 kms are toll expressways all located in Luzon.
The masterplan covers d the rehabilitation, improvement and construction of new 2-lane roads spanning 4,400 kms in Luzon and 11,901 kms in Visayas and Mindanao.
It also recommended expanding 2-lane roads to 4-lane ones, involving 1,926kms in Luzon and 1,769 kms in Vis-Min as well as undertaking new toll expressways stretching 886 kms in Luzon and 354 kms in Vis-Min.