MRT-7 project opening eyed in 2022 – SMC

Robie de Guzman   •   February 19, 2021   •   948

MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is looking to open the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7) in December 2022, the company’s president, Ramon S. Ang said as he reported about the project’s progress on Friday.

Ang said the construction of the project is at about 54 percent complete, with significant advances in its electrical and mechanical works. the Elevation requirements and tunnel lengths of the rail are also finished.

“I’m excited to share with you the progress we have made on our MRT-7 project. Despite its many challenges, we are now halfway done with construction and are expecting delivery of the first batch of trains from South Korea Hyundai Rotem,” he said in a Facebook post.

“We are looking to open this vital rail network in less than two years,” he added.

I’m excited to share with you the progress we have made on our MRT-7 project. Despite its many challenges, we are now…

Posted by Ramon S. Ang on Thursday, February 18, 2021

Ang said they are expecting to complete major milestones of the project this year, including the construction of MRT-7 stations, as well as the arrival and the testing of the first batch of trains.

Once completed, the project will connect MRT-3 and Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) and can ferry passengers from Quezon City to San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.

“Together with Skyway 3 and our other ongoing and planned infrastructure projects, MRT-7 will further improve urban mobility by linking 14 stations from San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan to MRT-3 and LRT-1,” he said.

The project is envisioned to improve road traffic situation and spur economic growth in Bulacan.

“By providing a seamless public transport system, we will significantly ease road traffic congestion, reduce commute times, and improve quality of life,” Ang said.

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.

SMC confirms Skyway 3 to remain open; ramps at 97% completion

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has confirmed that the Skyway Stage 3 will remain open to motorists amid misunderstanding with the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB).

SMC President Ramon S. Ang said he has relayed this commitment to Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade.

In a statement, the SMC said the misunderstanding started when the TRB insisted that Skyway 3 cannot start full operations and collect toll until all ramps are 100% complete.

Ang reiterated that their supplemental toll operation agreement with the TRB states that the SMC can begin collecting at 95% completion of construction.

Ang reported that the ramps are at 97% completion. He also reiterated the need for collection for maintenance and to speed up the completion of the ramps.

“We need sufficient funds for the toll road’s daily maintenance, proper long-term upkeep and to keep it safe and efficient for the motoring public. As Skyway 3’s losses have been mounting because TRB keeps delaying the start of toll collection, the quickest way for our infrastructure unit to speed up 100% completion of the ramps would have been to close Skyway 3,” Ang said.

The SMC previously announced that the 18-kilometer elevated expressway will be closed beginning Tuesday (March 16) in compliance with the TRB directive that all ramps should be completed. However, the TRB clarified it did not issue a directive on the indefinite closure of Skyway Stage 3.

Ang also noted the concessions they have to make in the interest of the public.

“Skyway 3 is new, but heavy everyday use causes it to deteriorate if not maintained properly. We spend a lot for its upkeep, and at the same time lose a lot in foregone revenues. We cannot operate this and serve people if the project is not generating revenues,” he added.

The SMC had also revised the originally proposed fare matrix to significantly lower toll rates, to ensure that motorists will not bear the heavy burden of high toll fees, especially amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Basically, we have done everything to make sure we can viably operate Skyway 3 right away, so we can serve motorists and fulfill our goal, which is to lessen traffic in Metro Manila and hopefully, through better connectivity, create more jobs and economic opportunities for more Filipinos,” Ang added. -AAC

Alabang Southbound toll plaza closed on February 20

Robie de Guzman   •   February 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Alabang Southbound toll plaza of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) will be closed starting midnight of February 20 to speed up the construction works on the Skyway System project, the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) announced.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the SMC said work on the southbound section is about to enter the advance phase.

With the closure of the Alabang southbound exit toll place, beside the Alabang viaduct, motorists are advised to take the following alternative routes:

  • Class 1 headed to Alabang or Alabang-Zapote Rd. may take Filinvest Exit Toll Plaza towards their destination.
  • Class 1, 2 and 3 vehicles bound for Alabang, Putatan, and National Road may take the Susana Exit Toll Plaza, turn right at Susana Heights Ave., and turn either left or right on the National Road to their respective destinations.

Motorists can also expect heavy traffic in the area because of the construction work, which will include the installation of girders, coping beams, and pre-cast slabs, the SMC said.

“We’re again appealing for patience and understanding from our motorists in the south and residents in the area, for any delays that they may experience, as we work to complete the Skyway Extension. We’ve put in place measures to help mitigate the impact on you and to ensure safety,” SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said.

“There is no way of getting around this key stage in construction. We really have to do it. It will be a temporary inconvenience, but I promise you, the benefits–eliminating traffic and providing seamless travel–will be well worth it,” he added.

The Skyway Extension project is a key feature of the 38-kilometer elevated Skyway system.

It extends the elevated expressway from Skyway Main Line Toll Plaza in Sucat, Paranaque to Susana Heights at SLEX and back, providing motorists a direct connection to Skyway 1 and 2 and SMC’s recently opened Skyway Stage 3.

It will add three lanes going north and two lanes going south.

Once completed, the Skyway Extension will make travel to and from southern Metro Manila and southern Luzon provinces much faster and more convenient, especially with the new Skyway Stage 3 from Buendia, Makati to the North Luzon Expressway, providing seamless connection to the north.

“Today, our motorists are already benefiting from travel from Alabang to Balintawak via Skyway 1,2, and 3. Once the Skyway Extension is completed, we will be extending access a little farther down Southern Luzon Expressway (SLEX), near the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway. With this, motorists coming from Cavite, Laguna, Batangas can bypass Alabang–and avoid experiencing or contributing to traffic there–and go straight to their destinations in Makati, Manila, San Juan, Quezon City, all the way to NLEX,” Ang said.

“Another major benefit of this project will be the decongestion of traffic along major roads to Muntinlupa, Las Pinas, and Cavite. Traffic in areas such as the Alabang-Zapote Road and other roads feeding into SLEX has grown a lot in the past decades, because of more residential and industrial developments. With Skyway Extension’s increased capacity, traffic in these areas will ease and flow more freely,” he added.

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