DOTr unveils tunnel boring machine’s cutter head for Metro Manila Subway project

Robie de Guzman   •   February 5, 2021   •   1262


MANILA, Philippines –
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Friday unveiled the cutter head of the first tunnel boring machine that will be used for the partial operability section of the Metro Manila Subway project.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade presented in an event, the cutter head of the first tunnel boring machine dubbed “Kaunlaran.”

“The cutter head is the most substantial part of the TBM, weighing 74 tons. Its main purpose is to break, cut and grind rocks and soil by rotating its 36-piece disc cutter,” the DOTr said in a statement.

“This Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) symbolizes its name, “KAUNLARAN.” Today, as we applaud the coming of Kaunlaran, I ask you, join us in riding the TBM, and in riding the first Metro Subway because ito ‘ho ay paglakbay papunta sa KAUNLARAN,” Secretary Tugade said in his speech during the event.

“Mr. President, the Metro Manila Subway is one of the answers of DOTr in answering your clarion call of making the Filipino life comfortable. This TBM, and the five more that are coming, so that we achieve partial operability by December of this year, is our way of saying this morning: ‘Mr. President, we are committed to make the Filipino life comfortable,” he added.

According to DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan, a fleet of 25 Japanese-made Tunnel Boring Machines will be utilized to further fast-track the roll out of the Metro Manila Subway project.

“To accelerate the construction of the Metro Manila Subway Project and to minimize road interference during construction, we will be using not just one but a fleet of 25 Japanese-made Tunnel Boring Machines or (TBMs),” Batan said.

The DOTr said that the arrival of the first TBM cutterhead also signals the continuous arrival of the other TBM equipment and materials.

The department said it expects to arrive this month the remaining parts of the machine which will then be transported at the site for assembly. This will be followed by the conduct of mandatory operational test prior to the lowering and main drive underground.

It is expected to be done in the third quarter of this year, the DOTr said.

The Metro Manila Subway Project is the first underground railway system in the country that will provide the most modern mass transportation in the National Capital Region (NCR), from Valenzuela City to Bicutan, Parañaque, and NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay, and will further stretch across North and South zones of the Greater Capital Region.

The project is in cooperation with the Japanese International Cooperation Committee (JICA).

Transport groups defer petition for fare hike

Maris Federez   •   October 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Transport groups have announced that they will defer their petition for a P3.00 fare hike.

This was after the House Committee on Transportation convened with the group and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to discuss the said petition seeking an increase in the minimum fare in jeepneys from P9.00 to P12.00.

Pasang Masda President Obet Martin said they have put off their request following the promise from the lawmakers and the DOTr of providing cash subsidy for the transport groups.

“Hindi na namin maitutuloy […] pero naka-pending lang. Naka-file lang kase nakapag-usap na kami sa Congress. […] Nagkasundo na kami tungkol doon sa cash subsidy at tsaka sa fuel subsidy na winu-workout ng DOTr sa mga companies,” Martin said.

He added that their group, the DOTr and the House committee came to an agreement to create a program that will assist the drivers and operators in coming up with measures to alleviate difficulties brought by the increasing prices of petroleum products.

“Ang LTFRB naman gagawa naman sila ng cash subsidy in a form of pasada card. Kami natutuwa na roon. Pag naayos na lahat yan we will withdraw the said petition dahil bibigyan ng subsidy yan as allowance o pasada card malaking tulong na sa amin yun,” Martin said.

In 2018, the government distributed fuel vouchers to jeepney operators and drivers following the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

Under the law, legitimate transport operators and drivers receive Php5,000 to Php20,000 fuel subsidies.

Meanwhile, transports groups also appealed to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to increase the operation of public utility vehicles to 100 percent capacity.—/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Janice Ingente)

DOTr inks deal with Chinese firm for Mindanao Railway project

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday (October 20) signed a  project management consultancy contract for the first phase of the Mindanao Railway Project (MRP) with China Railway Design Corporation (CRDC) and Guangzhou Wanan Construction Supervision Co. Ltd. consortium.

“With the signing of the agreement, it [Mindanao Railway Project] is about to be born, it is about to be triggered into reality. That is not the end of our commitment. It is just a small start of our commitment for the Mindanao Railway to come to reality,” said DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade.

The 100-kilometer Tagum-Davao-Digos Segment is an P82 billion project that will link Davao del Norte, Davao City and Digos City with its eight stations.

“The Mindanao Railway Project, despite the many challenges in the Covid-19 pandemic, the DOTr under the leadership of Sec. Art Tugade, has been consistently pushing to realize after being just a dream for more than half a century. The Mindanao Railway system will unlock opportunities and realize the potential of the people in the land of Mindanao,” said DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy Batan.

The MRP’s first segment is designed to accommodate 122,000 passengers and will reduce travel time between Tagum and Digos from the usual three hours to just one hour.

A China-funded project, the Mindanao rail will be the first train system outside of  Luzon.

“This project is an important part of the Mindanao round-the-island railway. Its planning, construction, and operation play an extremely important role in reducing travel time on the island, accelerating the flow of passengers and goods, and promoting regional economic development,” CRDC Chairman of the Board Mr. Liu Weiqun.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said that the construction of the MRP will begin in the second quarter of 2022.

The Mindanao Railway Project is expected to help improve inter-island connectivity, generate livelihood and boost the region’s economic development. AAC

House panel approves Motorcycles-for-Hire Act

Maris Federez   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Lower House has approved the bill that seeks to legitimize the operation of motorcycle taxis and craft clear regulations that will be applied on the said mode of transportation as well as that of motorcycle delivery services in the country.

The House Committee on Transportation on Wednesday announced that it has approved the proposed Motorcycles-for-Hire Act.

The proposed bill which awaits deliberation in the House plenary will give way to the drafting of standard operating procedures as well as penalties to be imposed on violators in the operation of motorcycles for hire.

This will guarantee that riders will own the responsibility of ensuring the safety of their passengers or the products that they will deliver.

Motorcycles to be used in such services must be registered under the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in accordance with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) standards.

No modification or alteration must be done in the original make of the motorcycle except for the installation of a top box and motorcycle bracket.

Motorcycle taxi and delivery riders must possess a professional driver’s license.

Failure to abide by these regulations will render fines and cancelation of licenses of riders or revocation of the franchise of the operator.

House Committee chairman and Samar Congressman Edgar Mary Sarmiento said the proposed bill will allay concerns of the riders on the changing policies of the government on motorcycle taxis.

“Masayang masaya na after all these years makakamit na rin po natin ang batas–maisabatas na ang pagre-regulate ng motorcycle taxi na alam naman po natin ginagawa na po ng milyon-milyong ating mga kababayan,” said Angkas co-founder and Chief Operations Advocate George Royeca.

He said their group sees this development as a big help to the riding public amid the pandemic.

“Alam mo, we need as many alternative modes of transportation as we can, lalo na ngayong pandemya. Mobility is very, very important. Because of the limitations of the pandemic, I believe na yung open air ventilation is one of the most important or critical aspects,” Royeca said.

The Senate has already approved its version of the bill.—/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

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