Quezon City gov’t lifts cease and desist order on MRT-7 above-ground construction
Robie de Guzman • February 28, 2020 • 535
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.
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Friday said it is working on forging partnerships with various digital payment providers for the implementation of cashless or contactless transactions in taxis and Transport Network Service Vehicles (TNVS) as part of the “new normal” amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement, the DOTr said it has tapped payment platforms to help equip taxis and TNVS with scan-to-pay systems to limit direct physical contact between drivers and passengers, thus further curbing the spread of COVID-19.
Taxis and Transport Network Companies (TNC) are allowed to operate in areas placed under general community quarantine at reduced capacity and with strict health and safety protocols.
“Cashless and contactless payment scheme will now be part of the ‘new normal’ in the public transportation system,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.
The DOTr said one of the first to tie-up with the government for this purpose is GCash.
Under the partnership, GCash will help enable taxi drivers to accept digital payments through the Scan To Pay app where GCash users only need to scan the unique QR code of the taxi unit they are riding in paying for their metered fares.
GCash is also offering the GCash PowerPay+ solution to taxi operators where they can send out salaries, allowances, and commissions through to their employees, or members nationwide, the DOTr said.
“GCash strongly supports the government’s call for the use of mobile payments to lessen the risk of spreading COVID-19 through surfaces such as paper money,” GCash Head of Payments Jovit Bajar said.
Authorities are also in talks with other payment platforms PayMaya, Squidpay and Beep, among others, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said in the same statement.
“We had consultations with these providers over the weekend. We are encouraging these digital payment providers to partner with taxi operators and TNCs to lessen the chance of COVID-19 spread,” LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra III said.
“On the part of the TNCs such as Hirna, Grab and Owto, they are already accepting cashless transactions,” he added.
MANILA, Philippines – Public utility vehicle (PUV) and transport network vehicle service (TNVS) drivers in the National Capital Region (NCR) who are qualified beneficiaries of the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) may soon get their cash assistance through GCash, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) announced Thursday.
In a statement, the DSWD said the department, along with the Department of Transportation-Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, forged a partnership with G-Xchange, Inc. (GCash) for the distribution of cash subsidies to TNVS and PUV drivers and their families.
The DSWD said the partnership aims to facilitate a quicker and safer approach of cash disbursement since the payout scheme promotes cashless and contactless transactions, compliant to the health and safety protocols being implemented by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).
GCash is one of the mobile wallet platforms widely used in the Philippines.
The DSWD said that by leveraging financial technology for the disbursement of cash aid, the risk of crowding will be reduced in disbursement centers like banks, while also improving efficiencies, and promoting transparency and accountability.
“TNVS driver-beneficiaries may withdraw their subsidies via GCash from any Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) nationwide or use the funds to pay for physical and online transactions,” the department said.
“They may also use GCash to pay bills to over 70,000 merchants and billers, buy airtime load, and easily transfer money to other GCash account owners or bank accounts from over 40 financial institutions nationwide,” it added.
The development comes ahead of the distribution of the second tranche of SAP payout.
This also comes after Senator Grace Poe urged the government to tap online cash transfer systems to expedite the distribution of cash subsidy to driver-beneficiaries.
The DSWD vowed to continue to explore more efficient and expeditious means to ensure the provision of needed assistance to low-income families assessed to be most affected by the implementation of the community quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is planning to propose the ‘Hatid-Estudyante’ Program to assist students who got stranded due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Under the said program stranded students in campuses, apartments, and dormitories across the country will be able to return safely to their respective hometowns and provinces.
In an interview with UNTV’s “Serbisyong Bayanihan” on Tuesday (May 5), DOTr Asec. Eymard Eje said the program will apply to all modes of transportation.
“Lahat ng sektor ay kasali sa programang natin, ang mga pampublikong transportation: air, maritime, pati po ang road. Ito ang aming gagamitin para sa iniisip na proyekto ni DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, (All sectors are included in our program, the public transportation: air, maritime, and even road. We will use these for the project spearheaded by DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade)” he said.
He also said the DOTr will immediately take action once they have collated all the necessary information and the project is approved by the IATF-MEID.
“Sa ganoon ay makikita namin kung saan-saan sila dapat ihatid para mai-provide namin ang eksatkong sasakyan na gagamitin para maihatid sila sa kanilang mga pamilya (So that we can determine where they need to go so we can provide the right mode of transportation to bring them home to their families),” he said.
The DOtr estimated it will take less than week for them to collate the data and will coordinate with the local government units to determine the protocols implemented in the area. AAC
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