DOTr inks deal with Chinese firm for Mindanao Railway project

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2021   •   201

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday (October 20) signed a  project management consultancy contract for the first phase of the Mindanao Railway Project (MRP) with China Railway Design Corporation (CRDC) and Guangzhou Wanan Construction Supervision Co. Ltd. consortium.

“With the signing of the agreement, it [Mindanao Railway Project] is about to be born, it is about to be triggered into reality. That is not the end of our commitment. It is just a small start of our commitment for the Mindanao Railway to come to reality,” said DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade.

The 100-kilometer Tagum-Davao-Digos Segment is an P82 billion project that will link Davao del Norte, Davao City and Digos City with its eight stations.

“The Mindanao Railway Project, despite the many challenges in the Covid-19 pandemic, the DOTr under the leadership of Sec. Art Tugade, has been consistently pushing to realize after being just a dream for more than half a century. The Mindanao Railway system will unlock opportunities and realize the potential of the people in the land of Mindanao,” said DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy Batan.

The MRP’s first segment is designed to accommodate 122,000 passengers and will reduce travel time between Tagum and Digos from the usual three hours to just one hour.

A China-funded project, the Mindanao rail will be the first train system outside of  Luzon.

“This project is an important part of the Mindanao round-the-island railway. Its planning, construction, and operation play an extremely important role in reducing travel time on the island, accelerating the flow of passengers and goods, and promoting regional economic development,” CRDC Chairman of the Board Mr. Liu Weiqun.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said that the construction of the MRP will begin in the second quarter of 2022.

The Mindanao Railway Project is expected to help improve inter-island connectivity, generate livelihood and boost the region’s economic development. AAC

DOTr asks Google to include PH bike lane routes in map app

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Thursday said it has requested Google to include the country’s bike lane routes in the dashboard of its popular real-time navigation app Google maps.

The DOTr said the inclusion of bike lanes on Google maps will help cyclists on their daily commutes.

“This will be a very good innovation for Google Maps considering that many Filipinos now are riding bikes as their main mode of transportation which brings significant health and environmental benefits especially amid the pandemic,” DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a statement.

Google has yet to approve DOTr’s request but Tugade expressed confidence the tech giant will most likely pursue the suggestion as it is a supporter of active transport.

“We have asked Google to consider this suggestion top priority considering the increasing number of Filipino cyclists. We are confident that we can win their support on this,” said Tugade.

The DOTr said it has already completed its 500-kilometer bike lane network in metropolitan cities across the Philippines.

The bike lane network includes Metro Manila (313.12 kilometers), Metro Cebu (129.47 kilometers), and Metro Davao (54.74 kilometers).

Bike lanes have pavement markings, physical separators, solar-powered road studs, thermoplastic paints, road signages, and bike racks.

The project was funded under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, the DOTr said.

Wearing of face shields in public transport no longer required in areas under alert levels 1 to 3 – DOTr

Robie de Guzman   •   November 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The wearing of face shields in all public transportation will no longer be mandatory in areas under COVID-19 Alert Level 1, 2, and 3, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Tuesday.

The DOTr made the announcement after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on the following protocols:

  • For areas under Alert Level 5 and granular lockdowns, the use of face shields in community settings shall be mandatory;
  • For areas under Alert Level 4, local government units (LGUs) and private establishments are given discretion to mandate the use of face shields; and
  • For areas under Alert Levels 3, 2 and 1, the use of face shields shall be voluntary.

DOTr representative to the IATF-EID and Undersecretary for Administrative Services Artemio Tuazon Jr. said the department will immediately enforce the protocols on the use of face shields.

“In line with the directive issued by the IATF, which was also approved by the Palace, wearing of face shields in areas, where Alerts Level 1, 2 and 3 are in place, is no longer mandatory. It will be voluntary,” Tuazon said in a statement.

To recall, all passengers in any mode of public transportation were required to wear face shields, aside from face masks, effective August 1, 2020.

Meanwhile, despite the lifting of the mandatory use of face shields, the DOTr reminded that public that stringent preventive measures remain in effect to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in all public transport facilities.

These include the mandatory wearing of face mask, strict enforcement of the social distancing measure, and frequent sanitation.

Talking and eating are likewise discouraged inside all public transportation, the DOTr added.

The government lifted the mandatory use of face shields in public areas amid declining cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines.

Listahan ng PUJ drivers at operators na makakakuha ng fuel subsidy, isinasapinal na – LTFRB

Robie de Guzman   •   November 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Isinasapinal na ng Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ang listahan ng public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers at operators na kwalipikado sa fuel subsidy program ng pamahalaan.

Ayon kay LTFRB Technical Division Head Joel Bolano, nasa 136,000 ang bilang ng mga benepisyaryo ng programa batay sa inilathala ng Department of Transportation (DOTr)

Ngunit paglilinaw ng opisyal, maaari pang mabago ang listahan ng mga benepisyaryo dahil kasama pa sa naturang bilang ang mga dati nang nakakuha ng bank account card sa ilalim ng pantawid pasada program noong 2018 at 2019.

Ayon kay Bolano, posibleng hindi na aktibo ang ilan sa mga benepisyaryo kaya kailangan pa munang ayusin ang listahan at isama ang ibang tsuper at operator na hindi nakakuha noon ng bank card pati na ang mga bagong operator.

“So, from the 136 (thousand) na iyon, baka yung iba inactive na. So, fina-finalize lang kaya mag-a-adjust talaga iyon. So, may effect iyon doon sa individual na amount,” ang pahayag ng opisyal.

Muli namang paalala ng LTFRB sa PUJ drivers at operators na gagamitin lang ang fuel subsidy para sa pamamasada alinsunod sa nilagdaan nilang kasunduan.

Ibibigay ang card sa mga tsuper upang magamit sa mga gasolinahan kapag kakargahan ng krudo sa kanilang operasyon.

Maaari din namang ang operator ang magpa-gas upang matiyak na walang gagastusin ang driver sa pagkakarga ng krudo.

Babala ng LTFRB, maaaring patawan ng parusa ang mga operator sakaling may paglabag sa programa.

Sa ngayon, patuloy na naghahanda ang LTFRB para sa pagpapatupad ng programa.

“Hopefully, mai-start na natin within this November mairo-rollout na natin iyan kasi ang pagkakaalam ko papasok na yung fund galing sa DBM to DOTr itong week na ito,” ani Bolano.

Ayon sa LTFRB, malalaman sa mga susunod na araw ang halaga ng subsidiyang makukuha ng mga tsuper kapag naisapinal na ang listahan ng mga benepisyaryo. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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