P95-billion Pasig River Expressway project to proceed, San Miguel chief says

SAN MIGUEL Corp. (SMC) is proceeding with its P95-billion Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) project, its top official said on Monday.

“We cannot [withdraw],” San Miguel President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Ang told reporters. “We are addressing the concerns, but it is currently on hold.”

In March, Mr. Ang said the company would abandon the project — a 19.37-kilometer six-lane, all elevated expressway that traverses Pasig River — amid public opposition given its impact on the environment.

The project is expected to provide an alternative and faster link to Metro Manila’s largest business districts such as the Makati Business District, Ortigas Center and Bonifacio Global City.

Critics have said the project could compromise the river’s functionality, cause air pollution and affect heritage structures and sites.

Last week, the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) said San Miguel had not officially terminated the project.

The TRB said it could not terminate the project, adding that there are monetary consequences under the supplementary toll operation agreement if the government ends it.

In 2023, the Environment department said it would study the project’s environmental impacts.

The TRB said its study on the PAREX project was on hold after SMC in March said it would abandon the project. — Ashley Erika O. Jose