By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The Board of Investments (BOI) has granted tax incentives to the P48.5-billion Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) project, a 44.69-kilometer, 4-lane expressway that will link CAVITEx and South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) to ease traffic in Laguna and Cavite provinces.
CALAX, a project of MPCALA Holdings, Inc., which is owned by Metro Pacific Group of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, is under the government’s Public-Private Partnership program that qualifies for tax incentives, such as the income tax holidays, under the Board of Investments’ Investment Priorities Plan (IPP).
MHI, the winning bidder to put up the CALAX project, will have the right to collect fees over a 35-year concession period based on an agreement it signed with the Department of Public Works and Highways, the government implementing agency.
The new expressway will traverse the provinces of Cavite and Laguna and will connect the SLEx via the Mamplasan Interchange.
It will start commercial operations by July 2020 with 280 personnel manning the expressway.
Based on the project details, CALAX will have eight interchanges access along its entire length. It is divided into two segments, the 26.48 km Cavite segment and the 18.15 km Laguna segment.
The Cavite segment will start on Tirona Highway, Kawit, Cavite and end in Aguinaldo Highway, Silang, Cavite. The Laguna segment will start on Aguinaldo Highway, Silang, Cavite Interchange up to the Greenfield property in Biñan, Laguna.
In approving the project, the BOI cited the endorsement from the PPP Center that CALAX is one of the priority projects under the PPP program. The PPP Center certified that no government or subsidy was extended for this project and is therefore qualified for incentives.
Trade and Industry Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo highlighted the project’s impact in addressing the infrastructure requirement of both the business locators and the general commuting public in the Cavite and Laguna areas.
“CALAX will greatly ease the movement of goods and services in the area, further boosting the economic activities in the Southern Tagalog region and create jobs,” said Rodolfo noting that the infrastructure development complements the agency’s strategy to further disperse economic activities across the regions of the country.
Apart from the economic benefits, the CALAX project will also provide faster, safer, and comfortable route for the commuting public who are traveling between the Bacoor and Kawit, Cavite areas and the Laguna and SLEX areas.
Rodolfo also noted that the provinces of Cavite and Laguna host rapidly growing industrial and commercial hubs in the Southern Tagalog Region. Presently, traffic congestion is prevalent in the region’s major thoroughfares such as the Governor’s Drive, Aguinaldo Highway, and Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road.
The DPWH obtained approval of the National Economic and Development Authority in 2015 to develop and implement the project under the variant of Build-Transfer-Operate contractual arrangement in compliance with Republic Act No. 6957 known as the BOT Law.