MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Tuesday assured motorists that there will be no toll increase on expressways amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said that he understands the clamor of tollway operators for increases in toll rates to generate needed revenue for operating expenditures.
However, Tugade explained that the DOTr, through the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), must uphold and protect the interest of the public, especially with the pandemic’s economic effects.
“Nakikita natin ang pangangailangan ng operators ng increases na iyan nang sa ganon, ang mga funding requirements nila ay maasikaso. Pero kailangan din ng tulong sa sambayanan, lalo’t higit tayo ay nasa pandemyang nangyayari ngayon,” He said.
“We need to strike a good balance. Ang pangangailangan ng mga investors, ang mga kakayanan ng publiko. Kailangan ibalanse iyan,” he added.
According to Secretary Tugade, considering the conditions imposed by the pandemic, the DOTr may approve toll rate hikes, but will definitely be implemented at a later date. AAC
MANILA, Philippines – Toll operators have agreed to conduct testing for the interoperability of their radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Monday.
The DOTr said the toll managers and concessionaires signed last Friday a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to jointly test the use of AutoSweep and EasyTrip RFID cashless payments for the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx), and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).
The SMC TPLEX Corp. (SMCTC) uses the AutoSweep RFID tag while the Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) and NLEX Corp. use the EasyTrip RFID tag.
The MOA states that a steering committee will be created to implement and monitor the Parties’ compliance with the agreement.
An AutoSweep RFID sticker will be activated using an EasyTrip account, and an EasyTrip RFID sticker will be activated using an AutoSweep account.
The interoperability testing will be conducted for 14 consecutive days, involving 45 vehicles composed equally of different vehicle classifications.
The steering committee, which will be created to implement and monitor compliance with the agreement, will be given five days to determine the system’s performance indicator, the DOTr said.
The government earlier required toll operators to shift to full contactless and cashless transactions in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Japan have signed two loan agreements worth P75.5 billion for two big projects in the Visayas and Mindanao under the government’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, the Department of Finance (DOF) announced on Tuesday.
Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative Eigo Azukizawa signed the loan deals worth 154 billion yen to fund the construction of the Cebu-Mactan Fourth Bridge and the Coastal Road Construction project in the Visayas, and the Davao City Bypass Construction Project.
The DOF said P57 billion of the loan will be used to support the Cebu-Mactan bridge and the coastal road construction project while the Davao City road project will get P18.5 billion.
The Duterte administration is counting on ramping up its infrastructure projects to create more jobs and boost the local economy which plummeted due to the coronavirus-induced global economic crisis.
The DOF said the loans carry a maturity period of 40 years with a 12-year grace period and have an annual interest rate of 0.10 percent for non-consulting services and 0.01 percent for consulting services.
The department said the Cebu-Mactan Fourth Bridge and the Coastal Road Construction project is the biggest infrastructure project in the Visayas under the “Build, Build, Build” program with a total estimated cost of P76.4 billion.
JICA has committed to fund 75 percent of the total cost of the project through Official Development Assistance (ODA) financing, while the remaining 25 percent or P18.82 billion will be covered by local financing.
Dominguez said the Cebu project aims to trim travel time and improve the capacity of the existing road network connecting Cebu and Mactan as it involves the construction of a 3.3-kilometer bridge with an elevated viaduct of 3.38 kilometers and a 4.9-kilometer four-lane coastal road with an elevated viaduct of 4.75 kilometers.
The Davao City Bypass Construction project, meanwhile, is expected to reduce congestion in Davao City and improve accessibility to its major development hubs through the construction of a 45.5-km, four-lane bypass road.
It also includes a 2.3-km main tunnel, which will utilize advanced Japanese technologies for its construction, and 0.5-km 4-lane cut-and-cover tunnel section running through the mountainous terrain in Barangay Magtuod, Davao City.
The project is expected to reduce travel time from Davao-Digos Intersection to Panabo City to just 49 minutes from the current one hour and 44 minutes.
The Cebu project is slated to start construction next year and is expected to be operational by 2029 while the Davao bypass road will break ground this year and will be completed by 2023.
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