ILOILO CITY -- Businessmen in Panay are pushing for the construction of an expressway that would connect the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, and Aklan, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) 6 (Western Visayas) has said.
The elevated expressway will work like the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Ro-Ann Bacal, NEDA-6 director, said on Thursday.
Bacal said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 6 Director Lea Delfinado has asked the infrastructure committee of the Regional Development Council (RDC) to endorse the Panay Expressway for the conduct of a feasibility study.
The Panay Expressway is different from the Panay Railway mentioned by President Rodrigo Duterte in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2016.
“When we talked to businessmen, they said they are not so keen on the railway because they want door-to-door. The railway can’t do door-to-door because you have to get the goods from the production area and put it (on) a truck and download it to the railway,” she said.
The expressway can thus efficiently deliver goods and reduce the cost of travel, she said.
It would be a win-win situation, she said, as the expressway would provide for a metro rail transit (MRT) system in the middle or the side of the expressway.
“We are very keen on the expressway because the gestation period of the railway takes a long time. We are contesting with different areas in the country, you can just imagine how long it can take, the feasibility study, detailed engineering study, and procurement,” she said.
The Panay Expressway would not only benefit the businessmen and investors but also visitors who would like to explore Panay, she added.
Bacal said the Panay Expressway, along with major projects such as the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Occidental Island Bridges Project, Panay River Basin Integrated Development Project, and the Iloilo Commercial Port Project in Dumangas, would transform Western Visayas into a place most conducive to investors and most attractive to tourists. (PNA)