by Mhanny S. Agusto, SEPTEMBER 2021
It was 2006. Fresh out from Primary School, we decided to pursue living in the sub-urban part of Cavite after being a resident of the busy streets of District 1, Tondo, Manila. Unaware of the routes leading to Cavite, our lipat-bahay driver made this remark: “Alam mong pa-Cavite ka na kapag naaamoy mo na yung malansa at amoy basura. Malas mo pa kung matatraffic ka, kasi kakapit sa’yo yung amoy.”
Suddenly, the proof to this remark started to unfold as we enter the highway they call “Coastal Road”. A traffic light a few meters after the Coastal Mall will be your first stop. After passing through the busy Bulungan Market, the queuing at the Cash Lane of Paranaque Toll Plaza was the next hurdle we need to overcome. Next to that was a mountain pile of garbage at the bayside, giving that foul odor that makes you want to hold your breath until you reach the end of the highway. Lastly, our vehicle must find its way to the exit leading to Bacoor, side by side with buses, jeeps, trucks, private vehicles, and the Cavite-famous baby buses. Due to this volume at the exit, it took us nearly an hour just for us to reach the start of E. Aguinaldo Highway, which finally leads us to our new residence in Bacoor.
But that was then. CAVITEX now boasts to be one of the main thoroughfares in Metro Manila which provides the ultimate mobility experience to the motorists at par with other toll roads being managed by Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC).
In the virtual kamustahan with Media held last September 7, Cavitex Infrastructure Corporation (CIC) President and General Manager Roberto “Bobby” V. Bontia (RVB) and Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) Assistant General Manager Atty. Joey Gonzales refreshed the minds of our media partners on the brief history of CAVITEX and what enhancements have been done through the years to ensure the betterment of its service.
In the Balik tanaw slides of Atty. Gonzales, he walked us through the highlights of the Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway Project (MCTEP) from the 1970s up to the present. Driven by the increase of traffic volume coming to and from Paranaque, Las Pinas, and Cavite, the Philippine Government spearheaded the completion of the then named Manila-Cavite Coastal Road. With the groundbreaking of the MCTEP and the creation of PEATC during the realm of the joint venture project of PRA and the Malaysian Groups MARA and RENONG in the mid-90s, the commercial operations of this expressway commenced.
In 2006, the operations and management agreement between PRA, PEATC, and UEM-MARA was signed, allowing the latter to operate and maintain the expressway. Seven years after, the Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP) Group of Companies invested in UEM-MARA, leading us to what is now known as the Cavitex Infrastructure Corporation.
RVB continued the discussion with the key successes and milestone projects of CAVITEX over the past years. From the completion of the first seven kilometers of CAVITEX (also known as R1) in the late 90s to the completion of the next seven-kilometer or the R1 Extension of CAVITEX which further extends the alignment to Kawit, Cavite more than a decade after, the CAVITEX has been investing to projects which will further improve the customer experience. Other enhancements that have been done were the introduction of the use of ETAP and Easytrip RFID (then Easydrive) as the toll payment option in 2012 and 2014 respectively, the opening of the Zapote Interchange or the exit leading to Las Pinas and Bacoor in 2014, heavy maintenance works in 2015 and 2021, the opening of the Pacific Avenue Flyover in 2018 and widening of bridges and provision of additional lanes in 2020. All of these were done to further accommodate the growing number of vehicles plying the 14-kilometer CAVITEX which now reaches up to 140,000 daily average traffic.
More so, the additional alignment under the MCTEP which is the CAVITEX C5 Link had its groundbreaking in 2006 and started operating its additional segment – the Segment 3A1, in 2019. Currently, the first two-kilometer segment has been serving 11,000 motorists daily. Updates about the remaining segments of this alignment were also presented by Mr. Bontia, such as the Segment 3A2 – the 1.6-km from the existing 3A1 in Merville to RSG Subdivision in Paranaque which now boasts a 30% construction progress. Segment 2 – the 1.9-km from CAVITEX Paranaque to Sucat is currently at 17% construction progress. Both segments are expected to be completed by 2022.
RVB also highlighted that the construction works continue despite the pandemic, but with strict adherence to the health guidelines set by the national government and the IATF for the safety of the workers, contractors, and employees, both field and office based.
Aside from the construction projects, enhancement works and system upgrades, CIC has been active also in implementing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Projects in its host communities and other stakeholders such as environment protection projects, disaster response operations, community engagements, and road safety education.
Media guests who attended this virtual event were also given a chance to ask questions to the speakers. Aside from further details on the construction progress of the CAVITEX C5 Link, the media also opened the discussion on the future of CAVITEX, with it being connected to the Cavite-section of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX), and further upgrades and improvements with the RFID System in CAVITEX Toll Plazas.
Without a doubt, CAVITEX has changed drastically from its state was when I first set foot in Cavite. The improvements made were immensely beneficial to upgrade the service it has been giving to the customers – which are the motorists, and other stakeholders along the MCTEP alignment. And as the years go by, CIC will continue to improve the level of its service, maintain, and enhance its thoroughfares, and implement projects which will be advantageous to all its stakeholders.
About the writer:
Mhanny S. Agusto. Day dreaming, drawing and writing are few of the things I do to escape reality and keep my sanity. Yep, that’s me.