San Miguel Corporation (SMC ) and the Department of Public Works and Highways have recently completed the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), easing trade and tourism throughout the northern Luzon region.
But, SMC has bigger plans for the future. The company has revealed that the next goal will be to extend the expressway all the way to San Juan in La Union – a good 66-kilometer ride from Rosario, La Union – bringing the Ilocos region ‘closer’ to Manila before the end of 2022.
Ramon Ang (third from the left), with PBA superstars during last year's BMW Motorrad breakfast ride.
“Once na binigyan tayo ng go signal, tuloy-tuloy kaagad ang trabaho, wala nang mobilization. Kaya sabi ko sa mga contractor, ‘yung mga heavy equipment, ‘wag niyong alisin dahil kapag binigyan tayo ng approval ni Secretary [Sonny] Dominguez, tuloy-tuloy na ‘yan. (Once we’re given green light, we will start work ASAP. No more mobilization. That’s why I told our contractors to leave the heavy equipment where they are so that once Sec. Dominguez gives his approval, our work continues),” said SMC president and chief operating officer, Ramon Ang (RSA) during the inauguration ceremonies of the TPLEX completion.
All the way up to Laoag, Ilocos Norte
The plan doesn't stop at extending the expressway all the way to San Juan. SMC has a much-bigger plan up its sleeves – to extend TPLEX for another 214 kilometers up to the City of Laoag, in Ilocos Norte.
“Next niyan, from San Juan, La Union, idudugtong ‘yan to Laoag [Ilocos Norte] na. Can you imagine, all of a sudden, ngayon lang with this TPLEX biglang sumikat na ‘yung Baguio eh ‘diba? Sikat na ‘yung San Juan, La Union. Dami nang taong pumupunta ng Vigan [Ilocos Sur]. What more kung mayroon ‘yang tollway all the way to Laoag. (Next, we’ll connect San Juan La Union to Laoag. Can you imagine, all of a sudden, now with TPLEX, Baguio City became more popular? San Juan also became a popular destination. A lot of people also traveled to Vigan. What more if we have a tollway all the way to Laoag)," added Ang.
RSA, as many refer to SMC’s patriarch as, added that they will not tire of investing on infrastructure, as a means to create more jobs and boost the economy, especially in these trying times.
“If you have noticed, our [infra] investments continue despite COVID-19. A lot of people lost their jobs or businesses due to the pandemic. We will move forward. Did you know why we keep moving? Because, if we do nothing, we won’t help our countrymen. That’s why we will continue moving forward to create more job opportunities for our countrymen.”
If this becomes a reality (which we hope and pray will), imagine, gearing up for a Sunday coffee ride to Laoag, Ilocos Norte, and be back home before daybreak?