Quezon City gov’t lifts cease and desist order on MRT-7 above-ground construction

Robie de Guzman   •   February 28, 2020   •   616

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Friday announced that the cease and desist order against the above-ground construction of Metro Rail Transit line 7 (MRT-7) at the Quezon Memorial Circle has been lifted.

Belmonte made the announcement after meeting with representatives from concerned government offices and stakeholders and approving the new structure design presented by the contractor EEI and developer San Miguel Corporation (SMC).

“Ni-lift na po ng city government ang cease and desist order ngayon dahil natuwa naman po kami na binigyang-halaga ang aming concerns,” she said in a statement.

During the meeting, the EEI and SMC showed a revised design wherein the area of the above-ground construction was dramatically reduced to 426 square meters from almost 11,000 square meters and the height to just six meters from 12 meters.

The above-ground structure is proposed to be only a utility room.

“We thank EEI and SMC for taking into consideration the concerns of the people of Quezon City, who consider the park and the pylon the most important landmarks of the city, by taking steps to adjust the design and reduce the height of the station thereby preserving the park’s integrity. This is truly a win-win solution,” Belmonte said.

“I would also like to express gratitude to the stakeholders for their active participation in preserving the park,” she added.

Belmonte on February 18 issued the order after learning that the design of the station exceeded the agreed-upon area by almost six times, and would affect the national heritage park.

With the adjustment in the MRT-7 project structure, Belmonte said it would no longer obstruct the view to the pylon, which mainly features the 66-meter tall mausoleum housing the remains of President Manuel L. Quezon.

“Mapapanatili natin ang view ng pylon. Wala na pong obstructions ngayon sa libingan ni Pangulong Manuel Luis Quezon. Bukod diyan, malaki ang open space para sa mamamayan ng lungsod Quezon dahil walang mall,” Belmonte said.

From the initial design of 11,000 square meters above ground, it has been agreed that the latest and final design will just be a 426-square meter (sqm) above-ground structure, with a height of only 6 to 7 meters.

Meanwhile, Transportation Undersecretary for Railways TJ Batan expressed his utmost appreciation for the swift settlement of the issue.

He likewise assured that the MRT-7 construction is on track, with partial operability to commence by 2021, and full revenue service by 2022.

“Currently, almost 55% complete na tayo. Lahat ng mga tren, lahat ng mga bagon, tapos na. Na-test at ready na i-ship from [South] Korea. Makikita natin na yung mga viaducts ay halos patapos na rin at ang stations ay tinatapos na. ‘Yung depot natin na tinatawag ay nasolusyunan na rin, kung kaya’t on track tayo dun sa commitment ng DOTr, ni Secretary [Arthur] Tugade, galing sa ating concessionaire na maging partially operable by 2021,” Batan said in a statement.

Once completed by 2022, the MRT-7 is expected to cut travel time from Manila to Bulacan from 2 hours to just 34 minutes.

Rail sector promotes use of bicycles, installs free-to-use racks at train stations

Marje Pelayo   •   July 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Community quarantine restrictions have limited the mode of transport in the country especially in Metro Manila.

For this reason, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) through its rail sector, has started installing bicycle racks at LRT-1, LRT-2, MRT-3 and Philippine National Railway (PNR) stations to promote the use of bicycles. 

Aside from convenience, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade supports the benefit of bicycle rides to commuters and the environment. 

“I fully support the establishment of the bike lanes as this active transport mode promotes a healthy lifestyle and clean environment. We will make this protected to ensure the safety of our cyclists,” Tugade stressed.

For safety and order, cyclists are reminded of the following rules:

  • Bike racks may be used free of charge.
  • Cyclists should bring their own personal padlocks.
  • Bicycle racks may be used from 5:00AM to 8:00PM only. 
    • LRT-2 – Parked bicycles beyond 8:00PM may still be claimed until the close of operations at 10:00PM.
    • PNR – Claiming of bikes is within operating hours.
  • No personal belongings such as bags or carry-ons should be left with the bicycle while parked at the rack.

Bicycle racks already in operation may be found in the following stations:

LRT-1 line

  • Central
  • Libertad Stations
  • EDSA Taft 

LRT-2 line

  • Legarda station 

MRT-3 line

  • North Avenue
  • Quezon Avenue
  • GMA Kamuning

The DOTr said cyclists are allowed to bring their folded bicycles inside the train car with a fare from origin to destination equivalent to one person, and subject to disinfection.

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MRT-3 to deploy 90 augmentation buses during suspended weekend operations

Marje Pelayo   •   July 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A total of 90 bus units will be on standby at end terminals of Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) to ferry passengers who will be affected by the suspended weekend operations of the train system. 

The first trip will be at 5:30 am and the last trip will be at 8:00 pm from North Avenue to Taft Avenue station and vice versa.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) earlier announced the temporary suspension of weekend operations to facilitate the replacement and installation of new rails. 

READ: No MRT-3 operations in four weekends from July to September – DOtr

Maintenance works at the stations are expected to be completed by December 2020. MNP (with inputs from Joan Nano)

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Duterte tells DOTr to put more seats at NAIA

Marje Pelayo   •   July 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte expressed concern over the plight of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) crowding the premises of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

He has ordered Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to provide additional resting areas and chairs for waiting passengers. 

In the past weeks, thousands of LSIs flocked the premises of NAIA hoping for their flights to proceed.

“Walang maupuan. Iilan lang ang upuan. Kapag may flights nagpatong-patong, ang iba nakatindig. What’s really worse is that mayroong restaurant sa labas na malaki,” the President told Tugade during the late night briefing on Tuesday (June 30).

(There are not enough seats. When there are flights, people would crowd and some are forced to stand. The worst part is, there’s a huge restaurant outside.)

Paalisin mo ang restaurant. Lagyan ng upuan kasi ang mga buntis, mga bata, walang upuan,” he added.

(Remove the restaurant. Put more seats because pregnant women and children have nowhere to sit.)

Meanwhile, the President asked Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año to provide for the needs of LSIs outside the airport premises. 

Gather all na naghihintay ng walang matulugan, walang matirhan at nandiyan sa labas ng NAIA,” he told Año.

(Gather all those who have no place to stay and are just staying outside of NAIA.)

“You will be transported to a place. I will pay. Just bill me [including food],” the President said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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