Japan firms to support PH transport infra projects

Robie de Guzman   •   May 31, 2019   •   5407

MANILA, Philippines – Various Japanese firms have committed to support the infrastructure projects and programs of the Duterte administration following a series of meetings in Tokyo, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said.

During President Rodrigo Duterte’s four-day working visit in Japan, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade met with several heads of Japanese companies and organizations to discuss partnerships for the government’s infrastructure projects.

He was joined by DOTr Undersecretary for Finance Garry de Guzman in the meeting where Japanese firms confirmed their commitment to support various Philippine transport initiatives.

DOTr officials also met with senior leaders of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to discuss the implementation of Japanese-funded transportation infrastructure projects in the Philippines.

In a meeting with Taisei Corporation Chairman Takashi Yamauchi, Taisei Corporation President Yoshiyuki Murata, and D.M. Consunji Inc. (DMCI) President and COO Jorge Consunji at the Taisei Corp. Headquarters in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Tugade discussed the completion of the Philippine National Railway (PNR) Clark Phase 1 project.

He urged the Taisei Corporation and DMCI to fast-track the project’s target date of completion to the last quarter of 2021 from 2022.

Once operational, the rail segment is expected to cut the current one hour and 30 minutes travel time from Manila to Bulacan to just 35 minutes.

The transportation chief also met with officials from Sumitomo Corporation to discuss rehabilitation and maintenance updates on the Manila Rail Transit line 3 (MRT-3).

The DOTr said Sumitomo has already ordered major parts and components for the MRT-3 and negotiated with its suppliers for faster delivery. Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) parts will arrive in July, while tracks and signaling components are set to be delivered in August.

Secretary Tugade also met with Toyota Motor Corporation for its possible participation in the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

Meanwhile, the Marubeni Corporation gave a letter of intent to support the Philippines’ maritime projects. The company committed to aiding the development of the country’s maritime safety capability, through the provision of maritime expertise, particularly on the design and construction of ships.

“Armed with the expertise of our Japanese partners, we are working double time to deliver our projects so that Filipinos can experience a comfortable life through enhanced mobility and connectivity,” Tugade said.

Duterte fires OCD Deputy Administrator Kristoffer James Purisima

Marje Pelayo   •   May 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed Kristoffer James Purisima as deputy administrator assistant secretary of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD).

According to Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, the President decided to remove Purisima from office due to “loss of trust and confidence.”

Roque could not tell, however, under what circumstance prompted the President to fire Purisima.

Wala na po akong ibang impormasyon (I don’t have additional information) other than he was terminated due to loss of trust and confidence,” Roque confirmed.

The OCD is the government’s main unit responsible for disaster preparedness and response in times of calamity.

Prior to his position in OCD, Purisima served as spokesperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte warns of return to strict quarantine restrictions if COVID-19 crisis worsens

Marje Pelayo   •   May 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte reminds the public to heed government protocols for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis even after community quarantine has been relaxed. 

On May 16, Metro Manila shifted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from enhanced community quarantine to help revive the Philippines’ crippled economy. 

But President Duterte stressed that such relaxation in restrictions doesn’t mean the country is free of COVID-19 and warned that the government might again tighten restrictions if situations get worse. 

“Remember this, the loosening of the restrictions does not mean [we’re COVID-free],” he said. 

“If the contamination will be as fast as before, and it will continue to infect yung nakalabas na (people who are allowed to go out), then we’ll have to just go back to original program,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque denied allegations that the government is not ready or has no policy for the conduct of COVID-19 mass testing. 

Roque stressed that the government in fact is now preparing to hit the target of 30,000 a day testing capacity by the end of May. 

“From the very beginning, we have had a systematic targeted testing at sa tingin po natin ang sinusunod natin ay benchmark recognized internationally specifically by the WHO,” the Palace Spokesperson said in defense against against critics who are questioning the government’s advice of letting private companies shoulder COVID-19 testing for their respective workers who are returning to work. 

Roque added that the government is targeting to test around 1.5% to 2% of the more than 100 million Filipinos for COVID-19 infection and clarified on what is referred to as ‘mass testing.’

“Ang tawag po dapat ay expanded targeted testing,” he said. 

READ: Phl conducting ‘expanded’ targeted testing, not mass testing vs COVID-19 – DOH

“Wala pong bansa sa buong mundo na ang lahat ng mga mamamayan nito (ay tine-test) kaya nga po mali ang terminong mass testing,” he concluded. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte on short visit to Davao City — Palace

Marje Pelayo   •   May 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte travelled to Davao City on Friday (May 15) to visit his family.

The President opted to stay in Metro Manila in the past two months to focus on his work amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak and due to tight restrictions under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). 

Aside from family visit, the President intended to check on the situation in Mindanao relative to the health crisis.

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is now in Davao City to visit his family whom he has not seen in months and to assess the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation in Mindanao,” Roque said. 

The Palace spokesman assured, however, that the President will be present in the scheduled meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 on Tuesday (May 19). 

“Rest assured that he will be back in Malacañang in time for the next IATF briefing,’ Roque concluded. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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