MANILA, Philippines – Skyway Operations and Maintenance Corporation (SOMCO) on Friday announced it has postponed the planned implementation of window hours for trucks coming from Southern Luzon to Metro Manila.
SOMCO earlier said that Manila-bound trucks will only be limited to midday trips via the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and STAR Toll Plaza beginning Monday, Oct. 14, in a bid to ease heavy traffic in the area.
The toll operator previously announced that trucks can only pass through the SLEX between 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and between 9:30 p.m. to 4 a.m. For the STAR Tollway, trucks may pass from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and between 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Manuel Bonoan, president of SOMCO, explained that they decided to defer the implementation of window hours to refine the policy for sectors involved.
“May mga truckers kasi who have been asking reconsideration for ‘yung signages namin kasi there are trucks coming from the south na actually do not reach Alabang viaduct, irerefine lang namin siguro yung mga signanes sa mga toll plazas namin,” Bonoan told UNTV News in a phone interview.
The planned implementation of window hours for trucks comes amid heavier traffic flow towards the metro due to ongoing construction of a ramp extension.
This week, the toll operator imposed one-way traffic at the east service road northbound from Alabang to Sucat Interchange to give way for the construction of the at-grade portion of an extended Skyway ramp, seen to be completed next month.
According to Julius Corpuz, spokesperson for the Toll Regulatory Board, the proposal has been forwarded to the toll operator for discussion.
“Naipaabot na po natin yan sa management ng ating project concessionaire at ganun din siguro sila tinitignan nila kung ano yung posibilidad tungkol dyan sa panukalang magkaroon muna ng toll fee reduction or suspension dito sa SLEX,” he said.
SOMCO said the construction is being fast-tracked to avoid further congestions during the holiday season.
A portion of the project is expected to be completed by November while the entire Skyway extension is seen to be finished by the last quarter of 2020. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)
MANILA, Philippines – Traffic situation has become heavier along the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) after its third lane was closed specifically the section where the construction of the Skyway Project is ongoing.
Commuters have been complaining as travel time from San Pedro in Laguna to Makati City usually takes up to an exhausting four hours of ride.
Residents in Muntinlupa City area also lament that the project has not only affected their income but their daily routine as well.
“There was not enough lead time for them to be informed for them to come up with, for us to come up with a management plan,” said Rep. Rozzano Rufino Biazon.
“(Nowadays) from Alabang all the way to Tunasan is a daily bog down, so life practically stops,” he added.
To address the problem, House Transportation Committee Chairman Edgar Sarmiento urges government agencies to immediately come up with a traffic management plan based on the data that transpired in the House Committee hearing on Wednesday (October 2).
“Isang taon mahigit itong project nila. Ngayon we are only October of 2019. Matatapos po iyan December of 2020. Kung iisipin nyo po arawan na arawan ganyan ang ibibigay natin sa mga tao, napakahirap,” Sarmiento argued.
(This project has been ongoing for a year already. Now, it’s October 2019 and it is expected to complete in December of 2020. Imagine the situation each and every day. This is what we serve the public and this is inconvenient.)
The Skyway O&M Corporation that manages the Skyway Project has apologized for the problems the construction is causing the commuters.
But the firm maintains that once Stage 3 of the project is completed, traffic flow will return to normal.
Sarmiento expects that the traffic plan will be ready for the next Committee hearing. MNP (with details from Vincent Arboleda)
MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman on Friday confirmed it is investigating Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta and Forensic Laboratory chief Dr. Erwin Erfe for alleged graft and corruption.
In a statement, the Ombudsman said it is currently conducting preliminary and administrative adjudication against Acosta and Erfe on corruption allegations within PAO including the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine issue.
The case stemmed from the complaints filed early this year by lawyer Wilfredo Garrido Jr. who sought for the suspension of Acosta and Erfe for allegedly committing corruption, falsification, malversation and illegal use of public funds or property.
The two PAO officials supposedly made money in alleged illegal purchases of office supplies for their crusade against Dengvaxia in 2018.
Acosta was also accused of using PAO budget to hold seminars at luxury hotels as she supposedly receives a commission for every gathering.
The Ombudsman said that after Garrido’s complaints were evaluated and docketed in April 2019, an order was immediately issued, directing the respondents to file their respective counter-affidavits.
“Records from the criminal and administrative cases show that respondents are facing criminal charges for violation of Sections 3(e) and 3(j) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices), Falsification by Public Officer, Malversation and Illegal Use of Public Funds or Property,” the statement read.
Administrative charges for Grave Misconduct, Serious Dishonesty, Grave Abuse of Authority and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, were also leveled against Acosta and Erfe,” it added.
Acosta and Erfe have denied the allegations in a consolidated counter-affidavit they filed last April 30.
The Office of the Ombudsman said several other pleadings were filed by the respective parties during the course of the investigation, including the one signed by alleged “DOJ PAO lawyers.”
The Ombudsman said that as of August, the parties were directed to file their respective verified position papers containing their positions, supporting evidence and defenses.
“The corruption allegations against the high-ranking PAO officials will be judiciously scrutinized and the cases shall be resolved solely on the basis of the evidence presented by the parties,” Ombudsman Samuel Martires said.
Malacañang earlier said it will not interfere with the case.
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