Senator Francis Tolentino has expressed doubts over a proposal which would allow foreign fully-owned companies to control and operate the country’s toll expressways.
Tolentino said tollways are the blood veins of the Philippine economy, encompassing our way of life and facilitating the mobility of people, goods, and services.
The legislator underscored the importance of tollways, especially during natural disasters and public emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Any major blockage or shutting down of tollways would effectively derail the economy and paralyze the government’s disaster and emergency response.
“Allowing foreign companies to take control of the country’s expressways has wide-ranging national security implications.”
During his interpellation on a Bill proposing amendments to Commonwealth Act No. 146, or the Public Service Act, the lawmaker warned that allowing foreign companies to take control of the country’s expressways has wide-ranging national security implications.
“We are tiptoeing into some national security land mines.”
“We are tiptoeing into some national security land mines, so to speak,” the senator noted.
One dangerous scenario he cited is that of foreign state-owned companies constructing and operating toll expressways traversing military facilities and installations or passing near vital infrastructure such as dams and power plants.
Senate Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon, co-sponsor of the bill, admitted during Tolentino’s interpellation that the policy issue on whether or not to allow foreign-owned corporations to operate the country’s highways is within the prerogative of the legislature.
According to Tolentino, the construction and operation of expressways under the government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Program should remain in the hands of corporations which are majority owned by Filipinos.