San Miguel drops PAREx project

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has decided to scrap its ambitious P81.53-billion Pasig River Expressway (PAREx) initiative following mounting apprehensions from civil society regarding its potential adverse effects on the environment.

Ramon Ang, the CEO of SMC, announced on Monday in Manila that they have opted to halt the toll road project after carefully considering public feedback.

"We are highly attuned to public sentiment. If the general consensus is that it poses risks to public welfare, we will discontinue our efforts," he remarked.

The PAREx project, spanning 19.37 kilometers, proposed a six-lane elevated toll road traversing the Pasig River from Radial Road 10 in Manila to the proposed South East Metro Manila Expressway at Circumferential Road 6.


Opposition and Concerns

In 2021, the Advocates of Science and Technology for the People, a scientific group, expressed concerns that the elevated expressway could cause harm to the river ecosystem by obstructing natural sunlight and disrupting the Pasig River's food chain.

Additionally, a private sector-led campaign called #NoToParex raised objections in 2022, alleging that portions of the project's environmental impact statement were plagiarized from other documents, raising doubts about the thoroughness of the initial assessment.

Before shelving the plan, the Toll Regulatory Board had reported last year that it was in the process of preparing detailed engineering designs, including blueprints and cost estimates.

Despite abandoning the PAREx project, SMC remains involved in other toll road ventures. It is currently collaborating with the Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC) on the development of the 88-kilometer Cavite-Batangas Expressway and Nasugbu-Bauan Expressway projects.

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