DOTr targets partial operation of MRT-7 in 2021

Marje Pelayo   •   July 17, 2019   •   2258

Proposed MRT 7 train

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is targeting the partial operation of MRT-7 in 2021.

DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said the project will definitely ease the burden of commuters as travel time from Quezon City to San Jose del Monte in Bulacan will reduce significantly from four hours to about 35 minutes once the project is completed.

On Wednesday (July 17), Batan and DOTr officials inspected MRT-7’s construction site in Quezon City to check the work in progress.

According to the project’s contractor San Miguel Corporation, the ongoing construction is already 44% complete which includes the train stations, platforms and the line where the railings will be placed.

The DOTr also announced that the procurement of 36 new train sets from South Korea has already been done.

MRT-7 is a 23-kilometer railway system that connects North Avenue in Quezon City to the province of Bulacan.

The train system traverses 14 stations namely North Avenue, Quezon City Memorial Circle, University Avenue, Tandang Sora, Don Antonio, Batasan, Manggahan, Doña Carmen, Regalado, Mindanao Avenue, Quirino, Sacred Heart, Tala and San Jose Del Monte.

It can load up to 500,000 passengers daily.

To prevent similar glitches as those in MRT Line 3, the DOTr is in close coordination with the agency’s private partners in terms of the regular maintenance of the MRT-7.

Usec. Batan said the completion of the entire project is expected in 2022. – with details from Joan Nano

QC gov’t moves ban on single-use plastics in restos, hotels to July 1

Robie de Guzman   •   February 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Quezon City government on Friday (February 21), said it has moved to July 1 the implementation of its ordinance banning the use of single-use or disposable plastics in restaurants and hotels in the city.

In a statement, Mayor Joy Belmonte said the deferment of the ban’s enforcement is to give restaurants and hotels more time to adjust their dine-in logistics in compliance with the policy.

Ordinance No. SP-2876, S-2019 was supposed to be implemented on February 15 but it was moved in consideration of concerns surrounding logistics, safety and hygiene, requirements and other issues involving day-to-day operations.

“We understand the situation and concerns of the establishments so we will give them ample time to comply,” Belmonte said.

The postponement of the ban’s implementation was recommended by the city’s Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department (EPWMD) following a series of dialogues with stakeholders, including restaurants, fast-food chains, and hotels.

EPWMD head Andrea Villaroman said the policy’s enforcement was deferred, provided that stakeholders would come up with a transition plan detailing concrete steps to be undertaken to comply with the said regulation.

The plan, which will be submitted within 30 days from February 15, will include the introduction of recovery and recycling mechanisms for single-use plastics/disposable materials.

“The transition plan should also cover the hotel and restaurants’ amenities indicating the hotel’s and restaurant’s timeline for procurement and attaching the industry standards and hotel/restaurant international regulations as justification for the amenities without alternatives due to sanitation concerns,” Villaroman said.

“It shall also include additional details on single-use plastic/disposable materials used by restaurants/hotels for hygienic and food safety purposes and its appropriate recovery/recycling mechanisms,” she added.

Ordinance No. 2876 prohibits the distribution and/or use of single-use plastics/disposable materials, including cutlery for dine-in purposes, in all hotels and restaurants in Quezon City.

The ban covers the use of throw-away plates, spoons, forks, cups, and other plastic and paper disposables.

The EPWMD also said it is coordinating with the Philippine Alliance for Recycling and Materials Sustainability (PARMS) to develop the recovery and recycling mechanisms for residual plastics and disposable materials, which can address those single-use wastes not covered by the Ordinance.

The Quezon City government on January 1 started the implementation of the Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance, which is now mostly being followed by establishments.

Villaroman said personnel of EPWMD’s Climate Change team will be deputized to issue notices of violation or environmental violation tickets.

PNR rolls out 2 new trains for Tutuban-Alabang route

Robie de Guzman   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Railways (PNR) on Thursday deployed its two new trains to operate in Tutuban-Alabang route after its send-off ceremony and class assignment.

According to PNR general manager Junn Magno, the new trainsets which are part of the 8100 series of Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) consist of four cars each and can carry up to 1,000 passengers per trip.

The train sets, which were acquired from Indonesian company PT Inka, are equipped with closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, air conditioning units, and handrails for increased passenger capacity and safety.

The trains also feature poly-carbonate windows capable of withstanding moderate damage caused by thrown rocks, and automatic safety doors equipped with a sensory feature that will easily open should someone or something is caught in between.

With the new trains, the Tutuban-Alabang route will now have a total of five trains.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, meanwhile, assured that PNR fare rates will not increase despite the deployment of new trainsets.

He also called on the public to be alert and immediately report any stone-throwing incident targeting PNR train units.

“Gusto nating manatiling matagal ang paggamit ng ating mga tren kailangan yung kooperasyon ng lahat gamitin ng tama huwag gumawa ng perwisyo, wag maging pasaway,” he said.

Magno said these train sets are part of the 37 railcars and three locomotives procured by the PNR which are expected to be completely delivered in the coming months.

“Hahabulin po natin na by the end of 2020, we should have enough capacity to serve the southern and part of the northern. Bubuksan na rin po natin yung Valenzuela line para ma-off load rin natin ang EDSA,” he said.

The PNR earlier deployed two other new trains to operate in Tutuban-FTI route in Taguig.

Once the delivery of new train sets is completed, PNR’s current 20,000 passenger capacity is expected to increase to 92,000, inching closer to its target of 200,000 daily passengers in the region. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

MRT-7 above-ground construction at QC circle halted for ‘historical’ concerns

Marje Pelayo   •   February 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Quezon City Government issued on Wednesday (February 19) a cease and desist order against the above-ground construction at the Quezon Memorial Circle in relation to the ongoing establishment of MRT Line 7.

The order was prompted by discussions with environmentalists and historians citing the historical significance of the park above ground.

Despite this, however, Mayor Joy Belmonte clarified that underground construction will push through.

“We issued a cease and desist order for the superstructure or the above-ground structure which you can call probably the station, so the project itself is ongoing,” the Mayor said.

“They are still constructing the project. There will be no delays,” she clarified.

The Quezon City government wants to preserve the structures above ground of the QC Circle where the remains of former President Manuel L. Quezon lies.

Also, the QC government discovered some irregularities on the part of the project’s contractor.

Based on the approved clearance and permit granted to San Miguel Corporation and the EEI Corporation, MRT-7’s designated contractor, the floor area of the construction should only be 2,457 square meters as agreed upon by the local government of Quezon City.

However, it was discovered that the contractor already covered up to 10,791 square meters of the area.

“The way the structure looks to me is that of a commercial structure and I think a commercial structure has no place in a green space or a park,” Mayor Belmonte argued.

“That is there for leisurely purposes and for the enjoyment of the people. It’s a heritage park as well,” she added.

The local government is set to summon the contractor and representatives from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to explain the matter.

The meeting will also have members of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA), members of the Quezon-Avancena family and representatives from the Quezon clan.

The DOTr, in response, agreed to attend the scheduled meeting while it assured the QC government that the construction of MRT-7 will go as scheduled.

“Definitely, we’ll not allow it to basically delay the whole project of MRT-7. The secretary strictly follows and monitors the strict implementation based on accepted schedule,” noted DOTr Assistant Secretary Giovanni Lopez.

Hindi po pumapayag ang ating kalihim na may mga ganiyang pangyayari at maantala ang ating proyekto (The Secretary does not allow such matter to delay the project),” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

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