DOTr unveils tunnel boring machines for construction of Metro Manila Subway

Robie de Guzman   •   February 24, 2020   •   553

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Monday presented to the public the major parts of tunnel boring machines (TMB) for the construction of the Metro Manila Subway Project.

During an event held in Pasay City, the DOTr made a presentation showcasing the assembly timeline and how these machines will help accelerate the construction of the Metro Manila Subway.

The tunnel boring machines were unveiled together with representatives of the Japanese contractor, Shimizu Corporation, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

“The Boring Machine is manufactured per specific designs. This is designed to what they found on the soil that is to be bored. Hindi ‘to ‘yung pupunta ka lang sa hardware at bibili ng dalawang boring machine. Hindi ho ganun ‘yan. That’s why it takes a little bit of time. But the moment it comes and it is assembled, the boring becomes fast and more efficient,” DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade told reporters during a briefing.

The major parts of a TBM which were unveiled include the shield jack, cutter reduction gear motor, main bearings, and articulation jack.

The DOTr said TBMs are integral in building the subway as these are used to dig underground and lay the tunnels. These machines can excavate through a variety of ground conditions, from hard rock to sand.

Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said around six tunnel boring machines will be used for the construction of the partial operability phase, or the first three stations of the Metro Manila Subway.

“Parte po ito ng tinatawag nating tunnel boring machine na siyang maghuhukay ng mga tunnels natin para sa Metro Manila Subway project natin. ‘Yung una nating tunneling na gagamit ng tunnel boring machine ay mag-uumpisa galing sa depot natin sa Ugong, Valenzuela patungong Quirino Highway Station,” Batan said.  

The first tunnel boring machine is expected to be delivered in August of this year, about four months ahead of schedule.

Batan said that after the machine’s delivery in August, the tunneling will begin from the East Valenzuela Station in Barangay Ugong in Valenzuela City towards Quirino Highway Station.

The Metro Manila Subway will have 15 stations from Ugong, Valenzuela, all the way to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.

The DOTr said it is eyeing the subway to become partially operational by 2021. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

PH to use cashless payment system in taxis to further curb COVID-19 spread – DOTr

Robie de Guzman   •   May 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Friday said it is working on forging partnerships with various digital payment providers for the implementation of cashless or contactless transactions in taxis and Transport Network Service Vehicles (TNVS) as part of the “new normal” amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, the DOTr said it has tapped payment platforms to help equip taxis and TNVS with scan-to-pay systems to limit direct physical contact between drivers and passengers, thus further curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Taxis and Transport Network Companies (TNC) are allowed to operate in areas placed under general community quarantine at reduced capacity and with strict health and safety protocols.

“Cashless and contactless payment scheme will now be part of the ‘new normal’ in the public transportation system,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.

The DOTr said one of the first to tie-up with the government for this purpose is GCash.

Under the partnership, GCash will help enable taxi drivers to accept digital payments through the Scan To Pay app where GCash users only need to scan the unique QR code of the taxi unit they are riding in paying for their metered fares.

GCash is also offering the GCash PowerPay+ solution to taxi operators where they can send out salaries, allowances, and commissions through to their employees, or members nationwide, the DOTr said.

“GCash strongly supports the government’s call for the use of mobile payments to lessen the risk of spreading COVID-19 through surfaces such as paper money,” GCash Head of Payments Jovit Bajar said.

Authorities are also in talks with other payment platforms PayMaya, Squidpay and Beep, among others, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said in the same statement.

“We had consultations with these providers over the weekend. We are encouraging these digital payment providers to partner with taxi operators and TNCs to lessen the chance of COVID-19 spread,” LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra III said.

“On the part of the TNCs such as Hirna, Grab and Owto, they are already accepting cashless transactions,” he added.

GCash tapped for faster, safer distribution of cash aid to PUV drivers – DSWD

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Public utility vehicle (PUV) and transport network vehicle service (TNVS) drivers in the National Capital Region (NCR) who are qualified beneficiaries of the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) may soon get their cash assistance through GCash, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) announced Thursday.

In a statement, the DSWD said the department, along with the Department of Transportation-Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, forged a partnership with G-Xchange, Inc. (GCash) for the distribution of cash subsidies to TNVS and PUV drivers and their families.

The DSWD said the partnership aims to facilitate a quicker and safer approach of cash disbursement since the payout scheme promotes cashless and contactless transactions, compliant to the health and safety protocols being implemented by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

GCash is one of the mobile wallet platforms widely used in the Philippines.

The DSWD said that by leveraging financial technology for the disbursement of cash aid, the risk of crowding will be reduced in disbursement centers like banks, while also improving efficiencies, and promoting transparency and accountability.

“TNVS driver-beneficiaries may withdraw their subsidies via GCash from any Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) nationwide or use the funds to pay for physical and online transactions,” the department said.

“They may also use GCash to pay bills to over 70,000 merchants and billers, buy airtime load, and easily transfer money to other GCash account owners or bank accounts from over 40 financial institutions nationwide,” it added.

The development comes ahead of the distribution of the second tranche of SAP payout.

This also comes after Senator Grace Poe urged the government to tap online cash transfer systems to expedite the distribution of cash subsidy to driver-beneficiaries.

The DSWD vowed to continue to explore more efficient and expeditious means to ensure the provision of needed assistance to low-income families assessed to be most affected by the implementation of the community quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

DOTr mulls implementation of ‘Hatid-Estudyante’ Program

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 5, 2020

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is planning to propose the ‘Hatid-Estudyante’ Program to assist students who got stranded due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Under the said program stranded students in campuses, apartments, and dormitories across the country will be able to return safely to their respective hometowns and provinces.

In an interview with UNTV’s “Serbisyong Bayanihan” on Tuesday (May 5), DOTr Asec. Eymard Eje said the program will apply to all modes of transportation.

“Lahat ng sektor ay kasali sa programang natin, ang mga pampublikong transportation: air, maritime, pati po ang road. Ito ang aming gagamitin para sa iniisip na proyekto ni DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, (All sectors are included in our program, the public transportation: air, maritime, and even road. We will use these for the project spearheaded by DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade)” he said.

Eje said stranded students can sign up at https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSet1crSBtMzGxi2ds…/viewform for DOTr to determine the number of stranded students. The said data will be submitted to the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

He also said the DOTr will immediately take action once they have collated all the necessary information and the project is approved by the IATF-MEID.

“Sa ganoon ay makikita namin kung saan-saan sila dapat ihatid para mai-provide namin ang eksatkong sasakyan na gagamitin para maihatid sila sa kanilang mga pamilya (So that we can determine where they need to go so we can provide the right mode of transportation to bring them home to their families),” he said.

The DOtr estimated it will take less than week for them to collate the data and will coordinate with the local government units to determine the protocols implemented in the area. AAC

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