After Skyway 3, SMC to work next on Pasig River road link project

Robie de Guzman   •   January 15, 2021   •   1223

MANILA, Philippines – The San Miguel Corporation (SMC) announced it will next work on the Pasig River Expressway Project (PAREX) after completing the Skyway Stage 3.

In a statement, the SMC said it will begin work on the East-West Highway in February.

“We will continue work to further decongest Metro Manila by linking east and west of the metropolis, through the Pasig River Expressway (Parex) project,” SMC president and Ramon Ang said.

Ang made the announcement during the opening ceremonies of Skyway 3 on Thursday which was attended by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Pasig River Expressway project is a 19.4-kilometer, six-lane elevated expressway along the banks of the Pasig River that will complete the north-south, east-west link, connecting R-10 in Manila, Edsa, and C5 and decongesting Rizal, Cainta, and Marikina.

Ang said the project will provide faster, alternative access to the business districts Makati, Ortigas, and BGC.

The toll road is expected to cut travel time between two areas to about 10 to 15 minutes from the two hours at present.

The project can be completed by 2023, Ang said.

Aside from PAREX, he also revealed that work has also started for the construction of the Manila International Airport project in Bulacan province.

Touted as the single-largest investment ever in the Philippines, the SMC said the airport project will connect to major thoroughfares in the metropolis. It will have four-parallel runways and modern, world-class facilities.

Ang set the opening date of the massive airport project for 2025. Two major expressways connecting to the airport will also open by 2023.

Meanwhile, the ongoing Skyway Extension project, which will extend Skyway’s reach in the south, to Susanna Heights, Muntinlupa, is set for completion this year.

Both the Parex and Bulacan airport projects are to be connected to the Skyway system, further extending the country’s infrastructure network, the SMC said.

Duterte to consider nationwide MGCQ if vaccine supply is enough

Marje Pelayo   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is considering the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 to further ease quarantine restrictions in the country particularly in Metro Manila.

“I am considering it. Our economy is really down, as in down so the earlier na mabilisan itong vaccine, the better,” he said.

However, he wants to make sure first that there is enough supply of COVID-19 vaccines not only in Metro Manila but in all provinces before he allows the full reopening of the country’s economy to prevent further decline.

“If the vaccine is available to anybody for one reason or another, sa mga probinsiya na-distribute na ‘yan kasi hindi naman mag-abot ng 110 million. Sa estimate nila it’s about 40 million. Kung maka-hit tayo ng 40 million o nandiyan na ‘yong vaccine, maski mag — mayroon tayong mga 20, 30 (million) bubuksan ko na.” the President said.

President Duterte acknowledges the people’s need to work to be able to eat and survive and this will only be sustained by reopening the economy and also to allow business to regrow.

Over the weekend, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the National Capital Region and some other areas will remain under general community quarantine on March 1.

The rest of the country will remain under modified general community quarantine.

Recommendations placing NCR under MGCQ were also raised, however, the President responded that without vaccine rollout, no MGCQ will be declared.

On Sunday (February 28), China’s donation of 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine has arrived in the country and the government is expected to begin vaccine rollout on Monday (March 1). MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

Metro Manila, Baguio City, Davao City to stay under GCQ

Marje Pelayo   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Metro Manila remains under general community quarantine (GCQ) for another month starting March 1, as announced by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Aside from National Capital Region (NCR), the following areas will also be under GCQ beginning March 1:

  • Baguio City (Luzon)
  • Davao City (Luzon)
  • Batangas (Luzon)
  • Apayao (Luzon)
  • Kalinga (Luzon)
  • Mt. Province  (Luzon)
  • Tacloban City (Visayas)
  • Iligan City (Mindanao)
  • Lanao del Sur (Mindanao)

Meanwhile, the rest of the country will remain under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) until the end of March.

NCR mayors, medical experts back Duterte decision on GCQ status

Robie de Guzman   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Mayors in the National Capital Region (NCR) give all out support to President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to keep the region under general community quarantine (GCQ) classification unless the COVID-19 vaccination program has been rolled out, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said Tuesday.

MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos said local chief executives in the NCR would ‘rally behind’ the president even if most of them have voted in favor of the proposal to put the region under modified GCQ in March to help revive the country’s economy.

“As what we have always emphasized, the Metro Manila mayors would always defer to the wisdom and judgement of the President,” Abalos said in a statement.

“We are one with him, and would exert all efforts and rally behind him in combating this COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) earlier recommended the shift to MGCQ to reopen the economy that has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

In separate statements, NCR mayors welcomed Duterte’s decision on the matter as they vowed to implement stricter health protocols to curb the spread of the viral disease.

“I am grateful to President Rodrigo Duterte for declaring that Metro Manila remain under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) until the vaccines against COVID-19 are rolled out and made available to Filipinos,” San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora said.

“We’ve already anticipated what to do, ramping up contact tracing, testing and early detection,” Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said.

Medical experts from the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, for their part, said that the shift to MGCQ will only be possible if the public will religiously follow the minimum health protocols set by the government.

“Based on previous experience I know that we know that we are not good in self-regulation, is that gonna change once we move into MGCQ? I think that’s the question every Filipino should answer,” Dr. Kathryn Roa said.

“I know that lockdown is hard but I just feel like the minute that we try to relax the lockdown or the quarantine it will somehow translate to people thinking that everything is well and I think they will start not minding wearing the mask, not minding wearing the shield, the physical distancing,” Dr. Faith Villanue said.

They also urged the public not to squander the efforts being put in to fight the pandemic and to continue observing protocols to stop the spread of coronavirus. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Janice Ingente)

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