Airlines sign pledge to decongest NAIA

Robie de Guzman   •   June 26, 2019   •   1228

FILE PHOTO: Ninoy Aquino International Airport

MANILA, Philippines – Five major local airlines committed to support the government’s initiative to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and transfer their operations to Sangley Airport in Cavite in a brief ceremony held on Wednesday (June 26).

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) led the signing ceremony of the “Pledge of Commitment” to support measures on NAIA decongestion, develop Sangley Airport and improve passenger convenience. The event was held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

The DOTr said the initiative stems from the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte, who earlier ordered the immediate transfer of general aviation operations to Sangley Point in Cavite to ease congestion at NAIA.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade earlier said the construction of additional facilities at Sangley Airport has been accelerated to meet the November operational timeline set by the President.

“We thank Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, AirAsia, PAL Express, and CebGo for uniting in this goal of providing comfort to the Filipino people. This initiative is a testament to the many ways the government and private sector can work together to solve problems. However, I am expecting that this commitment will not just remain a piece of paper, but will be implemented effectively and felt immediately by our passengers,” Tugade said.

The commitment aims to address the growing demands for air travel in the Philippines.

Prior 2016 until 2018, the DOTr said that NAIA’s annual passenger traffic increased from 36.5 million to 45 million, which is 130% of its design capacity.

Number of flights rose by 5.75%, resulting in an escalated utilization of airport slots per hour by 22.2%, or from 36 to 44.

Under the Pledge of Commitment, signatories committed to review the flight operations of their respective airline companies to rationalize flight numbers, aircraft movement and rotation, as well as the usage of slots and flying rights, to improve on-time performance.

The signatories also committed to support the development of mechanisms of discipline in the event of flight aberrations within their control.

They also assured to cooperate with government and other regulatory agencies that have the authority to determine actionable or punishable occurrences.

They also vowed disseminate accurate and timely information to the public through all available avenues and platforms, including social media and public announcement systems inside terminals and even while inside the aircraft, in instances of flight delays and cancellations. (with details from Joan Nano)

DOTr says QC-Bulacan MRT-7 project almost 50% complete

Robie de Guzman   •   November 11, 2019

Commonwealth Avenue

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Monday reported that the construction of the Metro Rail Transit line 7 (MRT-7) is now 49.22 percent complete more than three years after construction started.

In a statement on Facebook, the DOTr said that civil works of the underground/depressed, at-grade, and elevated guideway are in various stages of construction, while civil works of nine of the 14 stations are in full swing.

Trackwork installations are also ongoing.

“Likewise, the required rolling stock of 108 cars has been completed, and are awaiting shipment pending the availability of the depot/holding area,” it added.

PROGRESS REPORT: The Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7) is now 49.22% COMPLETE, as of October 2019!Based on the latest…

Posted by Department of Transportation – Philippines on Sunday, 10 November 2019

The 22-kilometer MRT-7 will connect Quezon City to San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan.

The line is expected to reduce travel time to 35 minutes from the current 2 to 3 hours.

The project is eyed to be completed by 2021, the DOTr said.

Duterte to attend ASEAN-ROK summit in South Korea

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 11, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte will attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Republic of Korea (ASEAN-ROK) Commemorative Summit in South Korea from November 25 to 27.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed on Sunday (November 10) that the president will be attending the summit in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the dialogue partnership between the regional bloc and South Korea.

“He will push through with the trip,” Panelo said.

President Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-In are also expected to have a bilateral meeting to discuss trade and security issues.

The Philippines and South Korea have recently celebrated its 70th bilateral relations.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte eyes ban on use of plastic

Robie de Guzman   •   November 8, 2019

Plastic along coastline in Cap-Haitien, Haiti | REUTERS

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing to ban the use of plastics in a bid to mitigate the effects of climate change, Malacañang said.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president mentioned the idea during a discussion on climate change in a Cabinet meeting last Wednesday.

“The president floated the idea to ban the use of plastics, which according to him would require legislative action,” Panelo told reporters but said he is not sure if Duterte was referring to single-use plastics.

There are bills filed in Congress seeking to ban the use of single-use plastics that are currently pending at a committee level.

These measures seek to prohibit food establishments, stores, and markets from issuing single-use plastics, and task manufacturers to control the circulation and disposal of these materials. It also encourages consumers to instead use reusable or other alternative materials.

The Philippines has been listed in a 2015 report as one of the biggest sources of plastic leaking into the oceans, after China and Indonesia.

A recent study by Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) revealed that Filipinos use more than 163 million plastic sachet packets, 48 million shopping bags and 45 million thin film bags daily.

The report called “Plastics exposed: How waste assessments and brand audits are helping Philippine cities fight plastic pollution,” used data from household waste assessments and brand audits conducted by Mother Earth Foundation (MEF) in six cities and seven municipalities across the country in the past five years.

The organization extrapolated the data to calculate daily and yearly plastic usage throughout the country in order to provide new quantitative evidence about plastic pollution in the Philippines.

GAIA said that findings in the report show how cities and municipalities in the Philippines are struggling against plastic residuals despite efforts of many localities to institute Zero Waste programs.

With the projected increase in plastic production worldwide, including in the Philippines, the group said that national governments, as well as local government authorities need robust data and effective strategies to address the looming plastic pollution crisis.

It also called on manufacturers to regulate, and stop producing, single-use plastics.

“We would appreciate kung ang Pangulo will tell Congress na iprioritize nga itong bill on single-use plastic,” Beau Baconguis, an Asia Pacific Plastics Campaigner of GAIA said.

“Dapat hindi lang tignan as a waste disposal issue at waste management issue pero titingnan ang buong life cycle ng plastic at buong problemang kaakibat ng different stages ng production ng plastic,” Baconguis added.

The House of Representatives, for its part, assured it will continue to conduct inquiries on proposals to ban the use of plastics in the country.

“There will be a hearing before the committee level, all the stakeholders shall be heard, and ultimately we shall decide the course,” Cavite Fourth District Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr., who chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources, said.

“The decision of the President will carry much weight in so far as the action of the House of representatives is concerned,” he added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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