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September 28, 2021

San Miguel Corporation's RSA Sets The Record Straight On PAREX

San Miguel Corporation President Ramon S. Ang sets the record straight on issues surrounding their upcoming Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) project. This is after the project was greenlit by the government, and broke ground less than a week ago.

Check out what he said.

On Palafox’s involvement in PAREX:

San Miguel Corporation and Palafox and Associates have had initial discussions for a potential consulting agreement for the Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) project.

Architect Palafox is one of the master-planners of one of our major projects and in our regular meetings with him, he has expressed strong belief in the need to increase accessibility between the eastern and western corridors of Metro Manila as part of a broader strategy towards decongesting Metro Manila, and easing the many negative impacts of traffic.

There is no formal engagement with Arch Palafox, but we have been in discussion, something that we have been very clear from the start—that we want him to help us do PAREX right.

We’ve come to learn from him, however, that forces critical of the project have been exerting pressure on him, his associates, and his family to drop the project. We believe this is part of an orchestrated and continuing demolition job to paint the project as the opposite of what it truly is.

Despite public pronouncements we’ve made committing to undertake the project at a level of sustainability never before done by any other private company—including the P2-billion cleanup of the Pasig River and its long-term rehabilitation; integration of a Bus Rapid Transit system, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian walkways; and our intent to tap Arch. Palafox to ensure the project will integrate green architecture principles—those leading others to denounce the project are manipulative and single-minded in their goal of creating distrust for PAREX for their own agenda.

On the subject that PAREX will destroy the Pasig River:

Pasig River has long been considered biologically dead and has been reduced to a flowing dumpsite for solid waste, industrial and chemical wastes, and sewage. In terms of solid wastes, bathymetric studies we have conducted place the depth of the river at now just 1.5 meters at the mouth of the Marikina River and Manggahan river. Meanwhile the Pandacan and Manila Bay areas are down to two meters. This is a major cause of flooding. But SMC is taking action. 

We are mounting the largest river clean-up and rehabilitation effort for the Pasig River. We will spend P2-billion initially to extract at least three  million metric tons of solid waste from the river to allow it to channel floodwaters more effectively. This will also allow for safer operations of water ferries.

On the subject that PAREX will cover the entire Pasig River:

PAREX will be built only on the banks of Pasig River, its posts occupying only 1 meter of the average 200 meters width of the Pasig River. Adaptations to the environment and local surroundings are part of our commitments with the government and local government units. All valid concerns will also be addressed during the Detailed Engineering Design development phase for the project (see lead photo).

On the subject that PAREX is anti-poor:

PAREX will be a hybrid expressway, accommodating multiple modes of transportation. Apart from accommodating motor vehicles, it will also feature a modern and efficient public transport system in the form of a Bus Rapid Transit that will run on both the Skyway and PAREX. This will enable faster, more reliable, safer, comfortable and affordable commutes to and from the northern, southern, eastern, and western areas of Metro Manila.

On the subject that PAREX will worsen pollution and traffic:

It is not expressways that induce people to buy more cars. It is poor or insufficient public transportation, pollution, and even personal progress of people. The number of vehicles will continue to rise with or without PAREX. Traffic and pollution will worsen if we do not build efficient, multi-purpose, future-ready infrastructure such as the PAREX. 

Through well-designed infrastructure, we will decongest our cities, make trips faster and more economical, and help reduce air pollution caused by hours of stand-still traffic all over Metro Manila--including in city or residential streets that motorists use as “shortcut” routes. Providing better, more efficient alternative public transport in the form of PAREX’s BRT and other ongoing mass rail projects, will also lessen the use of cars. PAREX will also not be exclusive to vehicles. It will incorporate bicycle lanes and pedestrian areas, to provide a safer environment for people to use alternative ways of getting from one place to another.

On San Miguel Corporation and its commitment towards and nation-building:

Our track record of initiatives speak for itself. San Miguel today is perhaps one of the most invested and committed in terms of nation-building, improving the lives of Filipinos, and saving the environment. Of the many projects being done today to narrow our infrastructure deficit, PAREX stands out as a long-term, inclusive, and sustainable solution to traffic congestion, flooding, public transport inadequacies, and decades of Pasig River pollution. 

SMC has the capability, resources, and engineering talent to clean-up, rehabilitate, and take care of the river for the long-term, even as we will rely on it help solve our cities’ many problems: ease traffic congestion, improve accessibility and mobility for everyday commuters, revitalize our economy, create jobs, and arrest severe pollution caused by hours of stand-still traffic. All these at no cost to taxpayers and government.

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