Back in the 70’s, traffic congestion is a daily occurrence in the narrow stretch of land in Paranaque and Las Pinas going to nearby provinces, particularly Cavite. Thus, the government thought of a major road network that would link Roxas Boulevard to all other parts of Metro Manila and the Southern Tagalog provinces. The answer was a 6.6 kilometer, two-lane asphalt reclaimed road from Roxas Boulevard leading to the municipalities of Paranaque, Las Pinas and Bacoor which was finally opened to the public in September 1985.
The road deteriorated so fast that there was a need to upgrade the road and upgrade the same to toll standards. This paved the way to the Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway Project, more popularly known as “Coastal Road”. It is a joint venture project of the Public Estates Authority or PEA (now called Philippine Reclamation Authority) and the Malaysian group of Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) and Renong Berhad (Renong). The project is an offshoot of the February 3, 1994 state visit to the Philippines of then Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, where a Memorandum of Understanding for a joint and cooperative implementation of critical infrastructure projects in the Philippines was signed. The MOU provided among others, the construction and completion of the Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway and the expansion, extension and modernization of other roadways and tollway systems. The project is a major component of a vast network of inter-urban roads traversing six municipalities namely: Paranaque, Las Pinas, Bacoor, Imus, Kawit and Noveleta.
On December 27, 1994, a Joint Venture Agreement by and between the PEA, Mara and Renong was signed whereby PEA shall ensure that all land and rights of way necessary are made available for the carrying out of the Design and Construction Works obligation of the Malaysian parties.
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on September 14, 1995 for the construction and completion of the Expressway. Also in 1995, a Novation Agreement was executed between PEA, Mara, Renong and the United Engineers (Malaysia) Berhad or UEM where the parties acknowledged and agreed that all rights, liabilities and obligations whatsoever of Renong under the Joint Venture Agreement shall be assigned and transferred to, and vested in UEM. Mara and UEM had since incorporated UEM-MARA which shall represent MARA and UEM, who shall continue to be liable jointly and severally under the Toll Operation Agreement.
One and a half years later or on the 26th day of July 1996, the Toll Operation Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines (acting through the Toll Regulatory Board), Public Estates Authority and UEM-Mara Philippines Corporation was signed. It was under this Agreement that PEA Tollway Corporation or PEATC was born. Under the Agreement, PEATC is to undertake and perform the obligations of PEA which is principally the Operation and Maintenance of the toll roads or any segment thereof. Commercial operation started in May 1998.
On December 15, 1999, Coastal Road Corporation, a wholly-owned Filipino entity bought the entire shares of UEM and MARA in UEM-Mara Philippines Corporation. The buy-out officially relinquished all the obligations and liabilities of the Malaysian Companies under the JVA and the TOA, as CRC took over the management of the project and immediately undertook the unfinished portions of the MCTE Project.
On November 14, 2006, an Operations and Maintenance Agreement was signed among PRA, UMPC and the Toll Regulatory Board. Among other provisions of the agreement, UMPC is to participate in the Operations and Maintenance of the existing R-1 Expressway until full payment of the loan and the equity, in compliance with the condition set by the lender banks and the equity contractor. PEATC continued to operate and maintain the expressway under the stewardship of UMPC.
Since then, PEATC reinvented itself and embarked on several projects aimed at providing the best quality service that is second to none.
The Manila Cavite Toll Expressway Project (MCTEP) entails some 25.5 km of toll expressway, consisting of three sections:
Section 1: Upgrading of the existing R-1 Expressway (6.6 km) stretching from The Seaside Drive to Zapote.
Section 2: Construction of the C-5 link (7.5 km) connecting South Luzon Expressway to R-1 Expressway.
Section 3: Construction of the R-1 extension (11.4 km) from Zapote to Noveleta.
Because of right-of-way acquisition problems for the C-5 segment, this section of the project was shelved.
The seven kilometer R-1 Extension segment or Cavitex, which extends from Zapote to Kawit, was inaugurated by President Benigno “Noynoy” III last April 27, 2011 and was formally opened to the motoring public last May 1, 2011.
The Expressway is being operated and maintained by PEA Tollway Corporation (PEATC), a stock subsidiary corporation under the PEA, a regulatory agency attached to the Office of the President. PEATC’s incorporation was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission on October 7, 1997. Aside from toll collection, PEATC also implements programs on traffic control and emergency operations including assistance to disabled vehicles. To maximize the provision of services to the public, it also provides other support mechanisms such as the establishment of information services and administration of ancillary facilities.