Bus Rapid Transit system on Skyway 3 eyed

Marje Pelayo   •   April 29, 2021   •   449

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president and chief operating officer, Ramon Ang said they are planning to run a Bus Rapid Transit or a high-capacity P2P system on the Skyway 3 toll road system.

In his Facebook post on Monday (April 26), Ang said the route will initially run between Susana Heights and Balintawak.

“This has been our plan all along – for all our elevated expressways to directly benefit not just private motorists, but mostly our commuters as well,” he said.

Ang said the primary purpose of the elevated toll roads is to divert vehicles from public roads to ease traffic flow.

“But a bus-based transit system will further maximize the benefits to the public and make commutes faster, easier, safer, and more convenient for many. Those who drive daily may even opt to commute, further easing traffic and reducing pollution,” he noted.

Ang considered the project a ‘game-changer’ that will transform mass transit in Metro Manila.

The 18-kilometer Skyway Stage 3 project cuts the travel time from the North Luzon Expressway to the South Luzon Expressway from the previous two-hour drive to only 30 minutes.

It has become operational early this year.

SMC installs second batch of MRT-7 trains; targets test-run by end of 2022

Maris Federez   •   October 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has mounted two more brand new Hyundai Rotem train sets on the tracks of the 22-km Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7) project.

This is the second batch of trainsets following the arrival of the first batch last month.

“Work continues non-stop on the MRT-7 project, so we can meet our target start of operations by end of 2022. I’m glad to report that we’re on track to meet all the key milestones we expect this year,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said in a statement released Monday (October 25).

The company expects to receive and install 6 of the total 36 sets before the year ends.

“Our ongoing MRT-7 project and other existing and planned mass transport systems should remain the backbone of mobility solutions in the city but we need to integrate these with other sustainable means of moving around to truly address the immediate concerns of the metropolis and best meet the needs of everybody,” Ang added.

The statement said that similar to the first two train sets that arrived last September, these were mounted on the MRT-7 tracks between University and Tandang Sora avenues, last October 23 and October 24.

Ang said that transportation and placement of the trainsets on the tracks is a meticulous process, stressing that such is applied to ensure that the safety of the people and trainsets is a priority.

“As work on the MRT-7 project progresses further and faster, we will be able to increase the number of train shipments from Korea in the coming months and mount these on the tracks later on for testing. In the meantime, we regularly inspect the trains in storage and are taking all necessary measures to properly maintain all trainsets so they will be in tip-top shape once we are ready to test and operate,” Ang said.

The statement added that the 56.03 percent completion of the project indicated that the MRT-7 may start test runs by December 2022.

“People who have not been able to visit South Korea or travel around using its trains will be in for a great experience, whether they are commuting to work or school.  As we expect the economy to continue to open more especially in the coming years, MRT-7 will be ready in time to serve the public as our economy rebounds and resumes growth,” Ang said.

For its first year of operation, the MRT-7 is estimated to accommodate 300,000 passengers per day and a maximum projection of 850,000 passengers per day on the 12th year.

“Given the need for social distancing and limited capacity enforced in public transportation amid the constant threat of COVID-19, we don’t expect to achieve these numbers right away but rest assured, the trains will serve their purpose of bringing more people from Quezon City to Bulacan faster and safer post-pandemic,” Ang said.

The entire MRT system will have a total of 108 cars.

Once complete, the MRT-7 will reduce travel time from North Avenue in Quezon City to the City of San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan to just 35 minutes.

The MRT-7 will have 14 stations, namely: Quezon North Avenue Joint Station; Quezon Memorial Circle; University Avenue; Tandang Sora; Don Antonio; Batasan; Manggahan; Dona Carmen; Regalado; Mindanao Avenue; Quirino; Sacred Heart; Tala; and San Jose del Monte.

Through the Quezon North Avenue Joint Station, the MRT-7 will link with MRT-3 and LRT-1. —/mbmf

SMC gets gov’t approval for Pasig River Expressway project

Robie de Guzman   •   September 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has secured a greenlight from the Philippine government for its Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) project, more than a year since it was proposed.

SMC president Ramon Ang said the approval of the project was signified by the signing of the project’s Supplemental Toll Operations Agreement by Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Toll Regulatory Board Executive Director Alvin Carullo.

PAREX is a 19.37-km, six-lane elevated road that will run along the banks of the Pasig River — from Radial Road 10 in the City of Manila to C-6 road in Taguig City.

The project will have three major segments – Segment 1 is from R-10 to Plaza Azul, Manila; Segment 2 from Pandacan to C-5, and Segment 3 from C-5 to C6.

PAREX will also connect to, and utilize a 2.7-km. portion of the new Skyway Stage 3 from Nagtahan to Plaza Azul.

“This will be an inclusive, user-centered infrastructure that will integrate various modes of transportation beyond cars. It will have dedicated bike lanes, walkways, a bus rapid transit system, among others,” Ang said.

With the opening of the Skyway 3 earlier this year, Ang said the Skyway system now serves as the seamless link between north and south Metro Manila.

Once operational, PAREX will serve as the east-west connection, linking up with Skyway 3 and SEMME making virtually every major city in Metro Manila accessible via the expressway.

SMC will fully shoulder the P95-billion cost to build PAREX, with no taxpayer or government money used.

Ang also said that PAREX will finally complete the long-envisioned north-south-east-west expressway connectivity for the region.

He added that with SMC’s P2-B Pasig River rehabilitation initiative, it is looking to expand water transport through ferry boats that will link people to cities along the waterfronts of Metro Manila – including Laguna Lake, Pasig River, Manila Bay, Marikina River, among others.

The SMC is tapping architect, environmental planner, and green urbanism advocate Arch. Felino Palafox Jr. to help in building the PAREX project.

“Together with Palafox and Associates, we will build what will be the country’s first sustainable infrastructure, one that will not just be ‘green’, but will have multiple uses and direct environmental, social, and economic benefits to Filipinos,” Ang said.

“PAREX will also be for pedestrians and cyclists. It will not just be for motorized transportation and convenience, but also for maintaining our health and well-being. It will not just ‘beautify’ the surroundings — it will rehabilitate the Pasig River and inspire urban renewal in Metro Manila,” he added.

Ang expressed gratitude to the government for studying the project and “ultimately seeing how it can address traffic congestion and transportation inadequacies” throughout Metro Manila, as well as how it can greatly benefit the environment and improve life in the city.

SMC spending $1B to build battery energy storage facilities to improve PH power quality

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corporation (SMC), through its power arm SMC Global Power Holdings Corp., has announced that it is spending over $1 billion to simultaneously build 31 new battery energy storage facilities nationwide, with a rated capacity of 1,000 megawatts.

“Our ongoing investment into battery energy storage facilities will greatly benefit power consumers all over the country, because this will mean that even faraway provinces or areas, can have the same stable and good quality power supply as everywhere else,” SMC president Ramon Ang said in a statement on Wednesday.

“This means that provinces and islands will have better and more equal opportunities for industrialization and economic growth. If previously some areas could not attract investments because of unstable or poor power supply, battery energy storage will make the power supply more stable and reliable. Battery storage will significantly reduce imbalances in the grid that cause power interruptions and brownouts,” he added.

Ang said the company has completed, in 2018, the very first battery energy storage facility in the country in its power plant in Masinloc, Zambales.

It has since embarked on a project of “such historic scale” using a relatively new technology capable of improving power quality throughout the grid system and facilitate the integration of renewable power sources into the country’s generation portfolio, he added.

Ang explained that the technology will boost the flexibility of the country’s power grid and improve power quality by removing excess power and injecting required power at strategic areas within the grid within millisecond level.

This ensures power quality is maintained and that it reaches power users all over the country.

“This can even support equal-opportunity industrialization in many provinces where historically, no industrial plants would locate because of poor power quality,” Ang said.

On top of that, the SMC chief said that battery energy storage facilities can clear the way for the smooth integration of renewable energy sources such as wind or solar into the grid.

“Our country’s challenge with renewables is that it is intermittent, because of its nature. But with strategically located battery storage facilities, this can be mitigated and renewables can become more viable. This will help the transition to more renewable sources of energy in the future,” he said.

The immediate aim though is to address power quality issues.

The battery energy storage projects will be used as regulating reserve type of ancillary service for the country’s major power transmission firm, National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), to specifically mitigate grid frequency fluctuation and voltage issues.

Ang said that some of its battery energy storage facilities are now in the advanced stages of completion.

The facilities, which will make up the company’s total committed capacity of over 1000 MW, will be located in several strategic sites from Luzon to Mindanao where power quality mitigations are required.

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