Ayala-Brittany row stalls Daang Hari project
MANILA – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) acknowledged for the first time delays in the first infrastructure project under the PPP or Public-Private Partnership Program of the Aquino administration.
The road project inside the New Bilibid Prison complex is all of four kilometers, but it is number one on the list of projects under the government's PPP.
Called "Daang Hari-SLEx Link Road," the toll road provides direct access between the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) and Daang Hari Road which spans Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, and Bacoor and aims to decongest traffic in the three cities.
In his last State of the Nation Address, President Benigno Aquino proudly extolled the project.
"The Daang Hari-SLEx Link Road is the fastest PPP project that has been awarded in any administration, with no shortcuts in the processes,” the President said.
But 20 months after the contract was awarded to Ayala Corporation, only 30% of the project has been completed, and road works seem to be going nowhere.
Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson told ABS-CBN News the delay was caused by Ayala's insistence on building a strip mall along the link road, a portion of which passes through property owned by rival Brittany Corporation.
Brittany Corporation is one of several real estate development companies owned by the Villar family, under the holding company Vista Land and Lifescapes.
Like Ayala, Brittany and other Vista Land companies are into residential and commercial development.
Singson said understandably, Ayala's plan to put up a strip mall does not sit well with Brittany.
“Kung minsan akala natin kalye lang ‘yung pinag-uusapan pero ‘yung pinagtatalunan talaga, ‘yung kaakibat na business opportunity,” he said.
It's the job of the DPWH to acquire right of way for its projects, and Singson has had a number of meetings with Ayala and Brittany officials to no avail.
In a statement sent to ABS-CBN News, Ayala insisted they are allowed to put up a commercial establishment under the concession agreement for the Daang Hari-SLEx Link Road.
It also tossed the blame to Brittany for the impasse.
Brittany, for its part, said while it supports the toll road project, it's worried that the design of Ayala's rotonda or roundabout on the Daang Hari side will cause traffic in the area dotted by Brittany Development.
Brittany also said Ayala has yet to respond to their questions on how the open space within the rotonda will be used.
Despite this bump on the PPP road, Singson is optimistic they can complete the Daang Hari-SLEx Link Road by July 2014.
Ayala said it's also looking to complete the project in the third quarter of 2014, but subject to Brittany allowing them road access by the third quarter of this year.