Janina C. Lim (Business World) – May 28, 2018

THE Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) said it will seek the release of P14 billion worth of national government funding that has not yet been disbursed to the agency to build a six-lane expressway linking various areas of the zone.

CEZA Administrator and CEO Raul L. Lambino said the infrastructure project forms a part of the freeport’s multimodal transportation system.

“We need to build a six-lane expressway linking the new airport to Port Irene in Santa Ana town and further, from Lal-lo to Tuguegarao City, eventually to the old seaport towns of Aparri and Claveria,” Mr. Lambino said last week during CEZA’s Investment Summit 2018 held in Taguig City last week.

“The plan for the construction and development of the six- lane expressway is now in the pipeline,” the official added.

Mr. Lambino said the agency will ask the national government for the P14 billion to be released “the soonest.”

Under Republic Act 7922 or the Cagayan Special Economic Zone Act of 1995, CEZA was bankrolled with two billion shares with a minimum issue value of P10 pesos or a total of P20 billlion.

Of this, only some P6 billion has been released, and used for the construction of the Port Irene’s one-kilometer breakwater.

“We are going to ask Congress to help us realize the establishment of these express lane linking the different areas of Cagayan,” Mr. Lambino added.

CEZA hopes to gain access to the funds to initiate preliminary studies and the acquisition of right of way. Meanwhile, construction will be pursued under a public-private partnership scheme.

Mr. Lambino added that a Russian firm has expressed interest in putting up a railway to connect Cagayan to Metro Manila.

“They are interested to do the studies on the viability of high-speed rail from Cagayan to Manila,” he said.