Whose project was Skyway 3? Credit grabbing, mistaken timeline over infra launch

January 18, 2021 - 7:10 PM
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President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the inauguration of the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 (MMSS-3) Project at the Del Monte Toll Plaza in Quezon City on January 14, 2021. (PCOO/Facebook)

(Updated 11:15 p.m.) Filipino online users are correcting fellow netizens who are claiming that the newly inaugurated Skyway was a project that began and ended during the current administration.

President Rodrigo Duterte led the inauguration of the much-anticipated Metro Manila Skyway Project 3 (MMSS-3) last Thursday, January 14.

He then attributed the success of the completion of this lengthy thoroughfare to his ambitious infrastructure Build, Build, Build program.

“The successful completion of the Skyway is a testament to the efficiency, reliability, and sustainability of our Build, Build, Build Program,” Duterte said.

“It attests to the endless possibilities that we can accomplish through the dynamic partnership between the government and the private sector,” he added.

Duterte also thanked  Citra Central Expressway Corp. and San Miguel Corp. for their investment to the project.

“Your investment has finally paid off, and the Skyway shall serve as an enduring edifice of the legacy that we will leave behind for future generations of Filipinos,” the president said.

“With the trust and help of the private sector and of the Filipino people, I am confident that we can build the foundations of an inclusive, robust and prosperous nation that we can proudly leave behind to our children,” he added.

The MMSS-3 is an 18-kilometer elevated expressway that runs from Buendia in Makati City to the North Luzon Expressway in Balintawak, Quezon City, thus bypassing main roads along Metro Manila such as EDSA and C5.

It is expected to cut the travel time between the South Luzon Expressway and NLEX from three hours to only 20 minutes.

It became fully operational last January 15. SMC said that motorists can use MMSS-3 for free until January 29.

The corporation is also tasked to maintain this road for the next 30 years.

Project started in 2014

Months before the inaugural rites, critics and supporters of the Duterte administration argued over which administration should they credit the completion of the MMSS-3.

The arguments resurfaced after Duterte graced the inauguration of the expressway. His supporters claimed that the Filipinos should credit the president and Build, Build, Build for this project.

They also quipped that critics of the current administration should not use the public road.

Fellow Filipinos, however, corrected these claims and pointed out that the MMSS-3 started construction during the administration of former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

Others, including journalist Barnaby Lo, pointed out that it was privately funded.

Twitter user Philip Lustre Jr. also noted that only motorists who will go through Skyway 3 will pay the toll fees to be collected in the future.

“Revenues which gov’t had collected as taxes weren’t used. Only motorists who use Skyway 3 pay. Those motorists who don’t use, don’t pay,” Lustre wrote.

Some Filipino users in jest said that the public should then thank Duterte for his presence at the ribbon-cutting ceremony and thank the Filipino tax payers.

Some Twitter users also stressed the need to stop the mindset of the projects are built because of politicians.

“2021 na. It’s time that we should stop having a mindset that we owe every government project to politicians,” a Twitter user said. 

“Can we pls banish the mindset that we mightily owe our politicians our public infrastructures when in fact gov’t projects are funded by the taxpayers’ blood and sweat?” another user wrote.

While the  MMSS-3 was completed during the Duterte’s presidency, the project broke ground in January 2014 during the Aquino administration through the Public-Private Partnership or PPP.

In the website of Department of Public Works and Highways, it was stated that Citra won the bid to finance the construction that was initially pegged at P37.43 billion.

The budget was later revised to the current P44.86 billion “excluding contingency due to the Section 2 realignment along San Juan River and the connection in NLEX (Section 5) and other design change.”

The initial length was also shorter at 14.82 kilometers that will extend the existing expressway form Buendia to Balintawak.

SMC likewise stated in a previous statement that the private corporation “fully funded” the construction of the project and will also be the one to fund its maintenance.

The DPWH relocated 47 National Grid Corp. poles and 1,312 Manila Electric Co. poles for this project.