Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur P. Tugade joined Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, SBMA Chairperson, and Administrator Wilma Eisma, NLEX Corporation President and General Manager Luigi Bautista, and other private and local government officials in the inauguration of the Subic Bay Freeport Expressway (SFEX) earlier today, 19 February 2021.
In his welcome remarks, NLEX President and GM Bautista said, “Alam po ninyo, the original Subic Freeport Expressway was built in 1996 as part of the country’s preparation to host the 4th APEC Economics meeting. This was NLEX’s first infrastructure project. More than two decades later, the country developed progressively, and our infrastructure needs have grown as well. So, in line with our commitment to be a partner of the government in nation building, NLEX once again collaborates with the government in the expansion of this vital artery in our national road network.”
As a local of Bataan, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque conveyed the appreciation of government to the proponent of this project, especially with its impact on travel time, where the SFEX drastically shortens the travel time of commuters going to Bataan.
“Magsasalita po ako ngayon dahil ako ay taga-Bataan. Unang-una po, nagpapasalamat ako sa gobyerno ng ating mahal na Presidente Duterte dahil po sa expressway na ito napabilis po lalo ang pag-uwi sa aming probinsya. Mula sa dati-rati pong anim na oras po bago makauwi, dahil po sa expressway ay parang dalawang oras nalang po,” Spokesperson Roque said.
As one of the pillars of the” BUILD, BUILD, BUILD” infrastructure program of the Duterte administration, DPWH Secretary Villar highlighted the vision of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte upon his assumption to the Presidency, when he gave the marching order and promised to make the Filipino life more comfortable.
“Alam n’yo po, patapos na po ang administrasyon ni Presidente, pero ako’y natutuwa at talagang nakita ko ang bunga ng kanyang programa. Siya po ang architect ng ‘BUILD, BUILD, BUILD,’ at ang utos n’ya po sa ‘min, na gawing mas komportable ang buhay ng mga Pinoy, ” Secretary Villar earnestly recalled.
“I can say now, marami na tayong tatapusin. And this year, there will be unprecedented number of flagship projects that we will be delivering,” he added.
Meanwhile, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade expressed his full support for the opening of the SFEX, as this will help improve travel time of motorists.
“Ang kahalagahan ng ating pinapasinayaan nating imprastraktura ngayong umagang ito ay upang mapabilis ang biyahe ng tao at upang mapabilis ang daloy ng kargamento nang sa gayon, ang pagdaloy ng mabilis ay magiging safe and convenient,” Secretary Tugade said.
“I enjoy the work which I do everyday for the good of the Filipino people and the country. Kaya nga ba’t kung may satispaksyon ang pagtratrabaho sa gobyerno, ‘yun ho ‘yung makita ninyo na nakangiti ang taumbayan. Nakangiti ang Pilipino at sinasabing, salamat, salamat sa inyo,” the transportation chief added.
Further, in an interview with the media, Secretary Tugade mentioned that passing through the 8.2-kilometer expanded expressway will be free of charge at the moment, since the Toll Regulatory Board is still assessing the petition submitted by NLEX earlier this week on the proposed toll rates.
Other officials in attendance during the event include DOTr Undersecretary for Finance Garry De Guzman, MPTC President Rodrigo Franco, MPIC President Jose Ma. Lim, DOTr-TRB Deputy Executive Director Melquiades Ordiales, and DOTr Assistant Secretary for Communications and Commuter Affairs Goddess Hope Libiran.
The province of Bataan was represented by Bataan 2nd District Congressman Joet Garcia and Mayor Jopet Inton of Hermosa. PCOO