Mabigat na trapiko at hirap sa pagsakay, bumungad sa unang araw ng GCQ sa Metro Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   June 1, 2020   •   549

MANILA, Philippines – Mabigat na daloy ng mga sasakyan sa kahabaan ng EDSA ang bumungad sa mga motorista sa unang araw ng general community quarantine (GCQ) sa Metro Manila.

Ito ay dahil sa bulto ng mga pribadong sasakyan, pampasaherong bus na ginamit sa augmentation program ng Department of Transportation (DOTr), at mga taxi at transport network vehicle service na pinayagan nang bumiyahe sa ilalim ng GCQ.

Nakadagdag rin sa pagsisikip ng trapiko sa kalsada ang pag-arangkada ng point-to-point (P2P) buses, shuttle services ng mga kumpanya at mga bisikleta.

Nagsimula na ring gamitin ngayong araw ng mga pampasaherong bus ang innermost lane ng EDSA.

Pero hindi natapos ang loading at unloading bay areas sa ilalim ng MRT-3 stations kaya apat na istasyon lang muna ang hihintuan ng mga bus upang magsakay at magbaba ng mga pasahero.

Ito ay ang North Avenue station, Quezon Avenue, Ayala at Taft Stations.

Batay sa patakaran ng Inter-Agency Task Force, limitado lang ang bilang ng mga pasaherong maaaring sumakay sa mga pampublikong sasakyan pang masunod ang panuntunan sa physical distancing.

Hindi rin lahat ng ruta ng pampasaherong bus ang pinayagang magbalik-pasada kaya pahirapan ang pagsakay ng mga pasahero.

May ilang pasahero na inabot ng ilang oras sa paghihintay ng masasakyan habang may iba namang naglakad na lang papasok sa trabaho.

Ang construction worker na si Jonathan Suico, madaling araw pa umalis sa Rizal ngunit naglakad rin pagdating sa may EDSA-Shaw Boulevard dahil walang masakyang bus papunta sa kanyang trabaho.

“Pupunta sana dun sa dulo kung may bus, eh ang masama nga eh, wala po eh. Wala pong magagawa po ma’am eh. Maglalakad na lang po,” ani Suico.

Humingi naman ng pang-unawa ang DOTr sa publiko sa limitadong transportasyon.

Ipinaalala rin ng kagawaran na naka-community quarantine pa rin naman ang Metro Manila at hindi pa maaaring lubusang magbalik-operasyon ang sektor ng transportasyon.

“Humihingi rin kami ng inyong pag-iintindi kasi nga ho, ‘wag nating kalimutan na tayo ay quarantine pa rin ho… At ang nangingibabaw po sa pagdating sa kagawaran ng transportasyon, ay ang inyong kalusugan, ang inyong kaligtasan,” ani Transportation Assistant Secretary Giovanni Lopez sa isang panayam sa UNTV ngayong Lunes.

Samantala, sinabi naman ni Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra III na pinag-aaralan na nila ang paglalagay ng bus stops sa Cubao at Ortigas Station kung saan malaki ang bulto ng mga pasahero.

“Nakita natin na full force ngayong araw yung mga bus na binigyan natin ng special permit so tuloy tuloy,” ani Delgra.

Tulad sa mga tren, limitado lang din sa 50-porsyento ng kapasidad ng mga pampublikong sasakyan ang bilang ng mga pasaherong maaaring isakay.

Dapat rin ay nasusunod sa mga ito ang physical distancing at iba pang health protocols upang maiwasan ang pagkalat ng coronavirus disease. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspendent Harlene Delgado)

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

Robie de Guzman   •   January 15, 2021

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.

Metro Manila LGUs allot funds for purchase of COVID-19 vaccine

Robie de Guzman   •   January 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Various local government units (LGU) in Metro Manila on Monday said they have allocated funds for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for their constituents.

Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian said the city government will earmark P150 million budget for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines which will be provided to residents for free.

The Navotas City government also allotted P20 million for the vaccine procurement, adding that the amount can still be increased subject to the final budget allocation for the city.

Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez likewise announced the allotment of P250 million for the procurement of vaccines.

Olivarez said the vaccination program will prioritize frontline workers, senior citizens and other residents who are vulnerable to the viral disease.

The San Juan City government also said it has allocated P50 million while local government of Muntinlupa said it has earmarked P170 million for its COVID-19 vaccination plan.

Makati City Mayor Abby Binay earlier announced they have prepared P1 billion budget for their COVID-19 vaccine procurement. She said the vaccines will be administered for all Makati citizens for free.

The local governments of Manila and Quezon City both announced earlier they have allotted funds for their COVID-19 vaccination program.

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso also said they have launched a pre-registration portal for the free vaccination for residents. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

Metro Manila, 7 other areas under GCQ until January 31 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   January 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Metro Manila and seven other areas in the country will still be under general community quarantine (GCQ) classification until the end of January, Malacañang said Friday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte extended the GCQ classification for Metro Manila, Santiago City, Batangas, Tacloban City, Iligan City, Lanao del Sur, Davao City, and Davao del Norte.

The rest of the country are placed under modified general community quarantine, he added.

The risk-level classifications take effect from January 1 until January 31, 2021.

Duterte earlier said the continued community quarantine restriction was to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease.

The Philippines has so far recorded a total of 475,820 COVID-19 infections with 439,895 recoveries and 9,248 fatalities. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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