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SMC, DPWH open final segment of TPLEx

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Wednesday opened the final section of the 89.21-kilometer Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway (TPLEx).

The opening of the Pozzurubio-Rosario of TPLEx completes the four-lane toll road project that is seen to hasten travel to and from Northern Luzon provinces, and help significantly boost economic activity in the region, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The opening of the final 11-kilometer segment of the TPLEx was led by SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang and the DPWH.. According to the company in a statement, the new stretch will "further reduce travel time from Tarlac to Rosario to just one hour from three-and-a-half hours, and Metro Manila-to-Baguio from six hours to just three-and-a-half hours." 

“In the face of a global pandemic that has also greatly affected our economy and the livelihoods of many Filipinos, we at San Miguel Corporation remain committed to continuing our investments in growth-generating and job-creating projects that will help build the resilience of our people,” Ang said.

Ang said that the completion of TPLEx, along with its commitment to continue investments on major infrastructure projects, are SMC’s contribution to the efforts of the government’s economic team.

In total, the TPLEx now has 10 interchanges and 11 toll plazas, namely Tarlac City, Victoria, Pura, Ramos, Anao, in Tarlac; Carmen, Urdaneta, Binalonan, Pozorrubio, Sison in Pangasinan, and Rosario, La Union.

The Sison, Pangasinan exit was added to the original alignment to help locals, and is currently being completed.

Earlier, SMC also received original proponent status for its proposal to extend the TPLEx from Rosario, La Union to San Juan, La Union, whose beaches have become a hot spot for local tourism.

The proposed four-lane extension project will cover some 59 kilometers.

Aside from the TPLEx section, the completion of a new unit of Masinloc Power Plant, Skyway 3, Skyway Extension, Skyway 4, and MRT7 are also in the pipeline.

SMC has also said it is pushing through with its plan to build the P735-billion Manila International Airport (MIA) project in Bulakan, Bulacan.

The massive development is expected to solve perennial congestion problems at the NAIA, increase the country’s competitiveness as a tourist and investment destination, and produce over a million direct and indirect jobs throughout Bulacan, neighboring Luzon provinces, and nationwide.

SMC has also committed to complete its ongoing capacity expansion program for its food and beverage businesses, which will further create more jobs in various regions nationwide. — BM, GMA News