Speech of President Estrada at the opening of Stage I Phase I of the Metro Manila Skyway Project, December 10, 1998

His Excellency Joseph Ejercito Estrada
President of the Philippines
At the Opening of Stage I Phase I of the Metro Manila Skyway Project

[Delivered at the Skyway Toll Plaza, Bicutan, Taguig, December 10, 1998]


Maraming salamat sa inyong paanyaya na pangunahan ko ang pormal na pagbubukas ng Villamor-Bicutan portion na ito no Metro Manila Skyway. Mahigit sa dalawan-daang libong motorista ang inaasahang makikinabang kapag natapos na ang buong proyektong ito.

Ito ang kauna-unahang major flagship project sa Metro Manila na binuksan ko mula nang ako’y maupong pangulo. Ako’y nagagalak at natapos ito nang mas maaga sa itinakdang panahon. Tamang-tama ang pagbukas ng bahaging ito bago mag-Pasko. Malaking ginhawa ang maibibigay nito sa napakalaking traffic problem lalo na kung Pasko. I wish to congratulate the Philippine National Construction Corporation and the PT Citra Lamtoro Gung Persada of Indonesia for jointly undertaking this project under the build-operate-transfer (B-O-T) scheme of our Government.

I also would like to commend our Indonesian friends and other partners of PT Citra for continuing to express confidence in our country. Your investment in this project will go a long way in our quest for economic stability. This is also a sign of the foreign investors’ faith that all is well in our country.

I still remember when this project was first launched in 1993 during the time of my predecessor, President Fidel V. Ramos. There were many skeptics and critics who said that this project would never be completed for a number of reasons. Others even claimed that this project may not be good for the motorists and the commuters, but this inauguration proves them wrong.

Despite the onset of the economic crisis in Asia and the troubles in Indonesia, our partners have stuck it out with us. This further proves that private sector-led investments through the use of the B-O-T scheme can work. This is why I have been saying that I will intensify and increase joint private sector participation in critical infrastructure projects in the country.

The massive US$ 2.5-billion Metro Manila Skyway is a 35-km elevated toll road which will link the South Luzon and North Luzon expressways through the heart of Metro Manila. The project also includes rehabilitating a 13.5-kilometer stretch that will link these two expressways along the eastern side of Metro Manila; this is Circumferential Road 6, or C-6, also to be called the Metro Manila Expressway.

The Metro Manila Skyway Project consists of four stages. What we are inaugurating today is just Phase 1 of the first stage, which involved the construction of a 4.71-kilometer elevated highway from Buendia to Bicutan. Phase 2 of this stage, which involves the rehabilitation of the expressway from Magallanes to Alabang, will be completed by June 1999.

When completed, this project will extend all the way to Balintawak.

In addition to this, our people can look forward to the completion of two mass rail transit development projects. MRT II is now constructing a 14-kilometer elevated line running from Santolan in Pasig City to Recto Avenue in Manila. And MRT III involves the construction of a Metro Rail Transit System along EDSA from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City.

This is just the beginning and investors can look forward to other profitable projects in other parts of the country in similar toll roads, mass transit systems, and other areas such as power plants, irrigation facilities, railroads, airports, and seaports.

The Manila Skyway and the Metro Manila mass rail transit systems are two important legacies of the Ramos Administration which I am privileged to continue under my Administration. I now give you my commitment not only to pursue them to completion with equal vigor but also initiate more projects like them to accelerate our country’s development.

With the opening of this Villamor-Bicutan portion of the Skyway, we no longer have to wait long to experience the numerous benefits to be had from traveling on this toll road. One may choose to travel in style on top or travel comfortably on the existing road below it, which is also undergoing rehabilitation.

Nevertheless, the construction of the whole Skyway has been proceeding at a frenetic pace to immediately ease the traffic congestion that has become a way of life to most motorists and commuters North and South of Manila.

We shall continue to fast-track the construction of roads and bridges in strategic locations all over the country to link major growth centers with production areas and, in the process, provide an effective inter-regional trunk line network throughout the country.

The Skyway is a rational and efficient approach to our traffic problems this world-class infrastructure project responds to the worsening traffic scenario in the metropolis as now we would be able to conduct our trade and commerce faster and with more enthusiasm.

Furthermore this toll road network will bring our motorists to and from their destinations in an efficient, economical and time-saving manner, given the project’s high standards in terms of design, technology, safety and comfort.

Sa ating mga kababayan, pangalagaan ninyong mabuti ang mga ganitong proyekto sapagka’t ginawa ito hindi lamang para sa atin kundi para rin sa mga susunod pang henerasyon.

Maraming salamat at maligayang pasko sa inyong lahat.

Source: University of the Philippines Diliman Library