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Expert urges government to strictly implement laws on building construction

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2019

FILE PHOTO: A construction worker (NASH SAHAGUN / Photoville International)

An expert on structural engineering is confident that the Philippines has enough laws on the construction of buildings to ensure that infrastructures can withstand earthquakes and calamities.

Engineer Danny Domingo, a former president of the Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines, said the country doesn’t have to adopt technologies from other countries such as Japan just to guarantee that edifices are earthquake-resilient.

He added that the problem lies in the implementation of the said laws, such as the National Building Code of the Philippines.

“It’s just a matter of applying what we have right now. The existing code, I believe, would be enough to make sure the buildings are okay. We have the right tool to make sure that our buildings will withstand the magnitude of earthquake. Nasa proper implementation lang,” he said

Domingo also reiterated the need to check on the old structures in Metro Manila, particularly those built in the 60s and 70s, and ascertain the ones that need to be demolished.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), in the meantime, has assured that the building projects under the Build Build Build program of the government are all of good quality.

The DPWH Build Build Build Committee has committed to seeing to it that the infrastructures under their care are earthquake proof.

Secretary Mark Villar has also issued instructions to DPWH officials to conduct assessments on the structural integrity of big government projects that are now under construction. — Maris Federez (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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DPWH begins construction of SLEX Toll Road 4

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Courtesy: DPWH

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is set to begin the construction of the P13.1-billion South Luzon Expressway Toll Road 4 (SLEX TR4) after the groundbreaking ceremony held on Tuesday (March 26).

The SLEX TR4 will connect the provinces of Batangas and Quezon through seven interchanges — Sto. Tomas, Batangas; Makban and San Pablo City in Laguna; Tiaong, Candelaria, Tayabas, and Lucena City in Quezon Province.

The project will be done in six packages: Package A from Sto. Tomas, Batangas to Makban, Laguna (11.32-kilometers); Package B from Makban to San Pablo, Laguna (12.75 km.); Package C from San Pablo to Tiaong, Quezon (7.5 km.); Package D from Tiaong to Candelaria, Quezon (15 km.); Package E from Candelaria to Tayabas, Quezon (10.21 km.); and Package F from Tayabas to Lucena City, Quezon (9.96 km).

The project is in partnership with San Miguel Corp. (SMC) through its subsidiary South Luzon Tollway Corp. (SLTC).

“Noong pumasok kami wala pang na-acquire na right of way. Wala pang permit to enter sa mga properties. So, ngayon lang, kita n’yo naman po naka-mobilize na ‘yung equipment at nakakuha na kami ng permit to enter. So, wala ng magiging delay sa implementation ng TR4,” DPWH Secretary Mak Villar said during the groundbreaking ceremony.

The DPWH expects to complete the construction of the 66.74-kilometer SLEX extension within three years and inaugurate it by 2022.

Villar said the travel time between Sto. Tomas in Batangas to Lucena City in Quezon will be lessened from four hours to one once the road is completed.

“During rush hour, motorists have to endure a long 4-hour drive due to the lengthy and busy Daang Maharlika between Sto. Tomas, Batangas to Lucena City, Quezon. This will only take an hour once TR4 is completed,” he said. 

An estimated 17,000 vehicles are expected to pass through the toll road every day.

The DPWH believes the road project will bring progress and new business, and growth to small enterprises in the provinces of Batangas and Quezon.

The Toll road is among the Luzon Spine Expressway Network projects under the Duterte government’s “Build, Build, Build” program that aims to connect and cut down the travel time between North and South Luzon. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Japhet Cablaida)

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3 bodies recovered from landslide site in Natonin, Mt. Province

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, November 2nd, 2018

Search and retrieval operations after a landslide in Barangay Habawel. Natonin, Mt. Province | Photo courtesy of BFPCAR

CORDILLERA ADMINISTRATIVE REGION, Philippines – Three bodies were recovered from ground zero at Barangay Habawel in the town of Natonin on Thursday (November 1).

Heavy equipment supposedly to aid the search and retrieval operations at the landslide site where a Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 2nd District Engineering Office was buried, are still far from reaching the area.

Rescuers are left with no choice but to use hand tools to excavate the ground in hopes of retrieving more bodies from the rubble.

Sitio Hakrang was made isolated by five more landslides with soil erosions blocking the main road. Authorities need to traverse through waist-deep mud by foot in a distance of five kilometers in order to reach the landslide area.

On Thursday (November 1) Mayor Mateo Chiyawan ordered to shift the operations at ground zero from search and rescue to retrieval because the floors of the damaged DPWH building already piled up and no air pockets could be seen from the rubble, so the chance for a survivor was nearly impossible.

The retrieved bodies are still unidentified as of press time while 19 more individuals remain missing. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Doctolero)

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NLEX harbor link segment 10 to open to motorists by December 2018

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, October 19th, 2018

DPWH Sec. Mark Villar speaks on NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is speeding up the construction of the North Luzon Expressway harbor link segment 10 and is hoping to open the said portion of the road before end of December this year.

The construction is currently 83 percent finished, according to DPWH.

Secretary Mark Villar said the agency finally resolved the longstanding issue on road right of way that hampered the project for some time.

Affected residents have already been given the appropriate compensation while some of them were relocated to other areas of Bulacan and nearby provinces.

The NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10 is an elevated expressway that interconnects the cities of Valenzuela, Malabon, Caloocan, and Novatas exiting NLEX.

The said infrastructure will mainly benefit truckers from Manila Port area that deliver goods to the Central and northern parts of Luzon.

It is also expected to further ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

 “Ano pong impact ng harbor link project? 30,000 cars a day minimum ang dadaan sa harbor links. Lahat po ng trucks na galling po sa Port hindi na kailangan dumaan sa Metro area. Diretso na po sa NLEX. Napakalaking bagay sa commerce, sa traffic itong project,” Villar said.

The DPWH estimates that travel time from Metro Manila to NLEX will soon take up to 15 minutes only once the harbor link segment 10 is completed, a big convenience to motorists especially in the coming holiday season.

Meanwhile, The Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation is proposing a P6.00 increase in toll once the NLEX harbor link segment 10 is opened.

“Mayroon tayong binabayarang toll sa tinatawag nating open system. Iyon ang section from Balintawak to Bocaue. Ang magiging adjustment dito that initial toll na babayaran magdagdag ng P6.00,” said Rodrigo Franco, the MPTC President.

This proposal, according to MPTC, is still subject to review by the Toll Regulatory Board – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Joan Nano)

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