ROSARIO, La Union – The opening of the 11-kilometer segment and the completion of the 89.21-kilometer Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway (TPLEX) to motorists on Wednesday will not only reduce travel time but also expected to boost economy amid the pandemic, an executive of the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) said.
“The economy ground to a halt because of the pandemic, and among the most affected were our farmers as well as small businesses such as restaurants, hotels, stores, that also rely on tourism. By not scaling back on investments in infrastructure, we will be able to create more jobs, keep the flow of goods and services moving, and pave the way for more local tourism for the long-term,” SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said in a statement Wednesday.
He said that because of the political will of President Rodrigo Duterte, the hard work and follow-through of Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar, and of the support of government’s entire economic team, the TPLEX project was completed that would benefit many regions in Luzon.
The 11-kilometer segment of the TPLEX will further reduce travel time from Tarlac to Rosario to just one hour from 3.5 hours, and Metro Manila to Baguio from six hours to just 3.5 hours.
In a statement, Villar thanked SMC for delivering its commitment to complete the TPLEX, saying the expressway would be vital to bringing tourism and trade back to Central and Northern Luzon.
“We may be opening this last section of the TPLEX during a time of national crisis, but this symbolizes our hope for a better future ahead. This engineering marvel showcases the capability and talent of Filipinos and demonstrates how we can all work together to achieve something great for the common good,” he said.
Villar also assured the public that President Duterte, along with the entire “Build, Build, Build” team, continues to work with utmost urgency on these projects that will form the foundation of a new phase of growth for the country.
The SMC received a proposal to extend the TPLEX from Rosario, La Union to San Juan, La Union, which is a hotspot for local tourism for its beaches. The proposed four-lane extension project will cover some 59 kilometers.
“Ang said SMC’s next goal now is to extend TPLEX all the way to San Juan. We look forward to the continued support of our national and local governments for this project, which will bring even more growth to the region,” it said.
The formal opening of the final segment of TPLEX was attended by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino III, La Union Governor Francisco Emmanuel Ortega III, and other government officials. Hilda Austria /PNA – northboundasia.com