DPWH confident Makati to Cubao trip in 5 minutes possible by December

Robie de Guzman   •   August 7, 2019   •   553

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Wednesday expressed confidence that it will be able to achieve President Rodrigo Duterte’s target of reducing the travel time from Cubao in Quezon City to Makati City to five minutes by December.

There are only four months left before the president’s deadline which was issued early this year but the DPWH said the shortened travel time will be made possible through a “combination” of infrastructure projects in Metro Manila seen to be completed this year.

When asked which projects will help shorten the drive, Anna Mae Lamentillo, who heads the DPWH’s Build, Build, Build Interagency Committee, admitted there is no singular way to do it.

She added that a bigger announcement will be made on how the target will be achieved.

“There is no singular strategy for this program pero ayaw kong ma-preempt ang (but I don’t want to preempt the) formal announcement for this project. I hope we can wait for the formal announcement on how this will be done,” she told reporters during a Malacañang press briefing.

Some of the projects under the Duterte administration’s infrastructure program are designed to reduce road traffic and travel time especially in Metro Manila’s major thoroughfares, Edsa and C5.

These include the Metro Manila Skyway Project, North Luzon Expressway Harbor Link, C5 South Link, and the NLEx-SLEx Connector Road which are seen to offer access and alternate routes for motorists.

Also being constructed are bridges seen to link business hubs, as well as railway projects that are envisioned to reduce the travel time and ease road congestions.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar earlier said that some of the projects are expected to be completed within this year

“What we have right now is a master plan that will effectively decongest Edsa and C5 by about 300,000 vehicles in total,” Lamentillo said.

Solving traffic woes in Edsa is one of Duterte’s promises that is yet to be fulfilled. He previously asked Congress to grant him emergency powers to solve the problem but to no avail.

In his fourth State of the Nation Address, Duterte ordered local governments to clear public roads being used for private ends.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has responded to the chief executive’s order by directing mayors to conduct a 60-day operation to clear roads of illegal vendors and structures obstructing sidewalks. (with details form Rosalie Coz)

Duterte wants to speed up release of sickly, aging prisoners

Robie de Guzman   •   September 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing to speed up the release of sickly and aging prisoners at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP).

Duterte specifically wants to fast-track the release of inmates who are 70 years old and above.

“I’ll ask the administration, whoever will take over or the Secretary of Justice to fast-track ‘yung mga may sakit na at talagang matatanda na. Ako mag-set ako, 70 years old or 75, 70,” he told reporters in an interview in Malacañang.

The chief executive pointed out that elderly and sick prisoners within the said age bracket can no longer run nor commit criminal acts. Most of them also do not want to be released anymore.

“Hindi na marunong mag-holdup ‘yan. Hindi na makatakbo ‘yan,” he said.

Duterte made the statement in the wake of the controversy on the early release of heinous crime convicts from the NBP through the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

The president earlier set a 15-day deadline for some 1,914 heinous criminals freed due to the GCTA rule to surrender or face re-arrest.

READ: Duterte orders freed heinous crime convicts to surrender

READ: Duterte offers P1M bounty for capture of GCTA-freed heinous crime convicts

Two days before the ultimatum lapses on Sept. 19, Duterte offered a P1 million bounty for each heinous crime convict who failed to comply with the order. RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte offers P1M bounty for capture of GCTA-freed heinous crime convicts

Robie de Guzman   •   September 18, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is offering a P1 million bounty for the capture of each heinous crime convict released through Republic Act 10592 or the expanded good conduct time allowance (GCTA)law who will fail to surrender to authorities before or on Sept. 19.

Duterte made the announcement two days before his 15-day ultimatum for GCTA-freed convicts to surrender lapses.

“Basta ako sinabi ko, I will just set the timeline and then the P1 million prize is available to those who can capture them dead or alive. But maybe dead would be a better option,” the president told reporters in an interview on Tuesday.

“I will pay you smiling. Ibalik ko ‘yan preso, makakain pa ‘yang p***** i**** ‘yan. Gagastos pa ako,” he added.

Last Sept. 4, Duterte ordered convicts who were freed early for good behavior to present themselves within 15 days to the nearest police or military camp for the investigation and recomputation of their good conduct credits.

He warned that those who will fail to comply with the order would be treated as fugitives.

As of Wednesday (Sept. 18), a total of 964 GCTA-freed convicts have surrendered to authorities and are now under the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) custody, according to the Department of Justice.

This number is more than half of the 1,914 heinous criminals who were released for good behavior under the expanded GCTA rule.

The controversy began after news broke out that former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez could be among the 11,000 persons deprived with liberty (PDL) who may be eligible for the expanded GCTA given to inmates.

Sanchez was sentenced to seven terms of reclusion perpetua for the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend, Allan Gomez in 1995.

The controversy led to the dismissal of Nicanor Faeldon as Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief and a Senate inquiry into the issue revealed the alleged modes of corruption in the national penitentiary involving several BuCor employees.

It also prompted the present government to revise the implementing rules and regulations of the law, which was enacted in 2013 during the time of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, to specifically state who among the convicts are ineligible from availing GCTA grants. RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte won’t extend 15-day deadline for surrender of GCTA-freed convicts – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will not extend the 15-day deadline he issued for the surrender of convicts who were freed early under good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law, Malacañang said.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said convicts prematurely freed on GCTA would have to surrender to authorities within the given grace period because they would be treated as fugitives if they fail to comply with the order.

The deadline, which the president issued last Sept. 4, will lapse on Thursday, Sept. 19.

“As the president said, when the 15-day deadline lapses, they will be deemed to be fugitives from justice and they can be arrested,” Panelo told reporters in a Palace briefing on Monday.

Duterte earlier warned GCTA beneficiaries he might consider putting a P1 million bounty per inmate if they fail to present and register themselves for the recomputation of their good conduct credits.

The controversy began after news broke out that former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez could be among the 11,000 persons deprived with liberty (PDL) who may be eligible for the expanded GCTA given to inmates.

Sanchez was sentenced to seven terms of reclusion perpetua for the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend, Allan Gomez in 1995.

The controversy led to the dismissal of Nicanor Faeldon as Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief and the revelation of supposed modes of corruption in the national penitentiary during a Senate inquiry.

It also prompted the present government to revise the implementing rules and regulations of the law to specifically state who are not eligible to avail of the expanded rule.

BuCor data earlier said that since the law’s implementation in 2014, around 1,914 heinous crimes convicts were released.

As of Monday (Sept. 16), 658 GCTA beneficiaries have surrendered to authorities and are now under BuCor’s custody.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) earlier said it has already formed more than 120 tracker teams to be deployed when the 15-day surrender period ends.

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