Construction of Bulacan Airport to start before end of 2019 – DOTr

Robie de Guzman   •   August 1, 2019   •   1648

MANILA, Philippines – The construction works for the proposed New Manila International Airport (NMIA) in Bulacan is expected to start before the end of the year, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Wednesday.

The P735.6-billion unsolicited airport project in Bulakan town in the province of Bulacan will serve as an alternative to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

NMIA has a design capacity of 100 million passengers per year but can be expanded to 200 million, the DOTr said.

It targets 240 aircraft movements per hour with four parallel runways planned.

The project will also include the construction of an 8.4-kilometer tollway that will connect the NMIA to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in Marilao, Bulacan.

The DOTr said the airport will be operated and maintained by the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) after its unsolicited proposal emerged as winner of the Swiss challenge that the department concluded on Wednesday (July 31).

Unsolicited proposals undergo a swiss challenge, which requires an invitation to other companies to make offers while giving the original proponent the right to match it.

The DOTr said that since SMC’s offer had no challengers, the project is set to be awarded to the company after a recommendation from the technical working group is made within three days.

“On the notice of award, there are some conditions that should be complied with. These include post performance security, proof of commitment, among others as stated in the law. They (SMC) have 20 days to do so,” said DOTr Assistant Secretary for Procurement and Project Implementation Giovanni Lopez.

The department said that once the notice to proceed is issued sometime in August or September, the San Miguel Holdings shall then be in-charge of the financing, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the NMIA.

The NMIA is expected to be operational within four to six years.

“The instruction of (DOTr) Secretary (Arthur) Tugade was that we were expecting San Miguel Corporation to break ground by the last quarter of this year. And in the ordinary course of things, according to our time period under the law, that is very doable,” Lopez said.

Tugade, for his part, commended the progress of airport project.

“This new international airport is important in helping ease the congestion of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Together with the expansion of Clark Airport and the construction of additional facilities at Sangley Airport, NMIA is part of ‘baskets of solutions’ to bring further connectivity to the Filipino people,” Tugade said.

Sen. Binay challenges DOTr officials to commute to come up with better plans

Marje Pelayo   •   June 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Nancy Binay on Tuesday challenged Transportation officials to take public transport going to work so they can experience firsthand the daily struggles of commuters

This was after hundreds of commuters were stranded on the first day of the implementation of general community quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila and other areas as part of the national government’s decision to ease restrictions amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Binay insists that Transport officials must also experience the hardship of commuting to be able to understand the situation and come up with a more reasonable plan to help the riding public. 

“Mabuti sila’t aircon ang mga sasakyan. Kung subukan kaya ng mga opisyal ng DOTr mag-commute papasok sa opisina? Dapat maramdaman nila ang hirap ng mga commuter, [Good for them that they have personal vehicles with air-conditioning, but would DOTr officials dare to commute to work? They should experience the hardships of commuters],” Binay said.

“They won’t be able to plan well if they don’t understand the people’s daily struggles.”

The lady senator emphasized that transport officials shouldn’t make an ‘experiment’ out of Filipino workers who have been suffering for months due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“Hindi po lahat ay may kotse, may motorsiklo o bisikleta. Hindi lahat kayang maglakad ng ilang kilometro sa gitna ng baha at ulan, [Not all people have cars, motorbikes, or bicycles. Not all people are able to walk long distances in heavy rain and flood],” Binay said.

“Our workers and the commuting public don’t deserve this kind of treatment.” she added.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has yet to comment on the matter.

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Sara Duterte urges DOTr to require pre-departure COVID-19 test on airline passengers

Robie de Guzman   •   June 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Davao City government is proposing for the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to impose a policy requiring airline passengers to undergo a health screening before departure.

In an interview at the Davao City Disaster Radio on Monday, Mayor Sara Duterte said the city government has been eyeing to implement this requirement for people flying out of Davao City to ensure that all airline passengers are free from novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Duterte said they have already proposed this to the DOTr considering that it is more difficult to conduct contact tracing if ever one passenger later turns out positive of the dreaded disease.

She said the screening should be done one to three days before the scheduled flight.

“During sa discussion namo, niingon ang doctor, kung diri ta mag-check ang mahitabo ana kung duna’y positive, mahurot ka-quarantine ang mga airport employees and pati mga airline crew. Nagsulti ang doctor dapat daw ang testing should be done before departure dili upon arrival,” she said.

(During our discussion, the doctor said that if we do the testing here, the worst case scenario is if one will test postive, all airport employees and airline crew will be placed on quarantine. The doctor said that the testing should be done before departure and not upon arrival.)

“So nagsulat mi sa DOTR ug sa national level, nagpadala ta og mga suggestions, nag-ingon ta nga diri sa Davao we will prepare testing before departure, so dapat ang tanang airports ang testing nila is before departure. So kung naa tay makuha nga positive sa mga pasahero, dili na siya makasakay,” she added.

(So we wrote a letter to the DOTr and to the national level, we sent suggestions that here in Davao, we will prepare testing before departure, so it should be done in all airports before departure. So if we find one positive possanger, then he/she ca no longer board the plane.)

Currently, the city only implements testing of passengers arriving via sweeper flights.

Mayor Sara also said that bus and van trips should also be arranged first before allowing commercial flights to resume.

“Nagsulti pud mi nga before i-resume ang commercial flights, ayuson sa ang bus trips ug vans, because kung naa ta’y commercial trips nga moabot ang [mouliay gawas sa Davao City] ma stranded siya sa airport tungod limited ang bus ug vans,” she said. 

(We also informed them that before commercial flights resume, bus and van trips should be fixed first because if we allow commercial flights without transportation outside of Davao City) then they will be stranded here due to limited bus and van trips.)

The city currently allows one bus trip every day and it will be on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

Augmentation buses provided at selected MRT stations for commuters missing train rides

Marje Pelayo   •   June 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTR) is mobilizing augmentation bus service for workers and the general public who will not make it on MRT trains due to the expected surge of commuters on the first day of general community quarantine or GCQ in Metro Manila on Monday (June 1).

Starting today, two lanes in EDSA will operate exclusively for augmentation buses, specifically the ones near the MRT stations. 

Initially, the Transportation Department has allowed 90 bus units to operate from June 1 to 15 with limited passenger capacity.

“According to DOTr rail sector, kailangan nila ng 90 buses. Iyan po ang sinabi nilang kakulangan sa transportasyon along the rail line [The DOTr Rail Sector asked for 90 buses. Those are what they need for transport augmentation along the rail lines],” said Atty. Martin Delgra, chairman of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Designated bus stops are also placed under selected MRT stations where these buses may load and unload passengers. 

These bus stops are in MRT north Avenue, MRT Quezon Avenue station, Ayala station and Taft station. 

Ang mangyayari po dito ang mga pasahero po ay ipi-pick up sa North Avenue at Quezon Avenue. Doon na lang po ang magiging drop-off at pick-up points papasok sa special lane na ibinahagi o ibibigay sa buses na ito. Diretso na po iyan,” noted Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Spokesperson Celine Pialago.

Ang babaan na lamang po nila ay ang Ayala Station at ang Taft Station. Pagdating doon lalabas na po doon papunta sa sidewalk para makababa po ang mga commuters,” she added.

Lanes in EDSA will also be reorganized, according to the DOTr, with the outer lanes to be assigned for bicycles and motorbikes while the middle lanes for private vehicles.

Meanwhile, cashless payment is also being encouraged among public transport vehicle owners to avoid direct contact. 

At present, several taxi and transport network vehicle services (TNVS) operators have installed automated collection systems in their respective units. 

The DOTr assured that no fare increase will be allowed for now among mass transport vehicles. MNP (with details from Joan Nano)


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