SMC confirms Skyway 3 to remain open; ramps at 97% completion

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 16, 2021   •   734

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has confirmed that the Skyway Stage 3 will remain open to motorists amid misunderstanding with the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB).

SMC President Ramon S. Ang said he has relayed this commitment to Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade.

In a statement, the SMC said the misunderstanding started when the TRB insisted that Skyway 3 cannot start full operations and collect toll until all ramps are 100% complete.

Ang reiterated that their supplemental toll operation agreement with the TRB states that the SMC can begin collecting at 95% completion of construction.

Ang reported that the ramps are at 97% completion. He also reiterated the need for collection for maintenance and to speed up the completion of the ramps.

“We need sufficient funds for the toll road’s daily maintenance, proper long-term upkeep and to keep it safe and efficient for the motoring public. As Skyway 3’s losses have been mounting because TRB keeps delaying the start of toll collection, the quickest way for our infrastructure unit to speed up 100% completion of the ramps would have been to close Skyway 3,” Ang said.

The SMC previously announced that the 18-kilometer elevated expressway will be closed beginning Tuesday (March 16) in compliance with the TRB directive that all ramps should be completed. However, the TRB clarified it did not issue a directive on the indefinite closure of Skyway Stage 3.

Ang also noted the concessions they have to make in the interest of the public.

“Skyway 3 is new, but heavy everyday use causes it to deteriorate if not maintained properly. We spend a lot for its upkeep, and at the same time lose a lot in foregone revenues. We cannot operate this and serve people if the project is not generating revenues,” he added.

The SMC had also revised the originally proposed fare matrix to significantly lower toll rates, to ensure that motorists will not bear the heavy burden of high toll fees, especially amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Basically, we have done everything to make sure we can viably operate Skyway 3 right away, so we can serve motorists and fulfill our goal, which is to lessen traffic in Metro Manila and hopefully, through better connectivity, create more jobs and economic opportunities for more Filipinos,” Ang added. -AAC

SMC gets gov’t approval for Pasig River Expressway project

Robie de Guzman   •   September 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has secured a greenlight from the Philippine government for its Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) project, more than a year since it was proposed.

SMC president Ramon Ang said the approval of the project was signified by the signing of the project’s Supplemental Toll Operations Agreement by Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Toll Regulatory Board Executive Director Alvin Carullo.

PAREX is a 19.37-km, six-lane elevated road that will run along the banks of the Pasig River — from Radial Road 10 in the City of Manila to C-6 road in Taguig City.

The project will have three major segments – Segment 1 is from R-10 to Plaza Azul, Manila; Segment 2 from Pandacan to C-5, and Segment 3 from C-5 to C6.

PAREX will also connect to, and utilize a 2.7-km. portion of the new Skyway Stage 3 from Nagtahan to Plaza Azul.

“This will be an inclusive, user-centered infrastructure that will integrate various modes of transportation beyond cars. It will have dedicated bike lanes, walkways, a bus rapid transit system, among others,” Ang said.

With the opening of the Skyway 3 earlier this year, Ang said the Skyway system now serves as the seamless link between north and south Metro Manila.

Once operational, PAREX will serve as the east-west connection, linking up with Skyway 3 and SEMME making virtually every major city in Metro Manila accessible via the expressway.

SMC will fully shoulder the P95-billion cost to build PAREX, with no taxpayer or government money used.

Ang also said that PAREX will finally complete the long-envisioned north-south-east-west expressway connectivity for the region.

He added that with SMC’s P2-B Pasig River rehabilitation initiative, it is looking to expand water transport through ferry boats that will link people to cities along the waterfronts of Metro Manila – including Laguna Lake, Pasig River, Manila Bay, Marikina River, among others.

The SMC is tapping architect, environmental planner, and green urbanism advocate Arch. Felino Palafox Jr. to help in building the PAREX project.

“Together with Palafox and Associates, we will build what will be the country’s first sustainable infrastructure, one that will not just be ‘green’, but will have multiple uses and direct environmental, social, and economic benefits to Filipinos,” Ang said.

“PAREX will also be for pedestrians and cyclists. It will not just be for motorized transportation and convenience, but also for maintaining our health and well-being. It will not just ‘beautify’ the surroundings — it will rehabilitate the Pasig River and inspire urban renewal in Metro Manila,” he added.

Ang expressed gratitude to the government for studying the project and “ultimately seeing how it can address traffic congestion and transportation inadequacies” throughout Metro Manila, as well as how it can greatly benefit the environment and improve life in the city.

Initial train sets installed on MRT-7 tracks

Marje Pelayo   •   September 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corporation (SMC) had installed the initial two train sets for the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7) project in Quezon City over the weekend.

These are the first of the six train sets the SMC expects to arrive this year from South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem.

The train sets, consisting of three cars each, were shipped from Masan Port towards the end of August. They were dispatched to the MRT-7 tracks between University Avenue and Tandang Sora, after clearing customs at the Port of Manila.

“Our engineers and workers assigned to unload the trains have been at the site since early Saturday morning and will be there until the whole process is completed the following day. We have to be very thorough during the whole process to ensure that it is done efficiently and quickly while inspections are continuously being done,” said SMC president Ramon Ang in a statement.

“We are working round-the-clock to meet the first test run by next year. We know that our countrymen are eagerly awaiting the formal opening of the MRT-7 so that they can experience faster, more efficient, and comfortable travel. This is even more crucial during the pandemic when additional transportation options are required to bring people safely to work and back to their homes,” he added.

SMC is the concession-holder for the project and is fully-funding construction of the 22-kilometer mass transit system. It is currently at 55.3% completion.

The MRT-7 project links up with the MRT-3 and LRT-1 and extends from North Avenue in Quezon City to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. It aims to reduce travel time from Quezon City to Bulacan to just 35 minutes.

First batch of MRT-7 trains to arrive next week — SMC

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The first batch of trains for the MRT-7 project is set to arrive in the country from South Korea next week, according to San Miguel Corporation (SMC).

The SMC said the trains, which consist of six cars or two trainsets, were procured from South Korea’s Hyundai ROTEM.

Each trainset is 65.45 meters long – or well over the entire length of an Olympic-size swimming pool, which is 50 meters.

SMC president Ramon S. Ang said the arrival is a welcome development. It also hold a lot of significance especially with the challenges faced during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“At a time when many are feeling uncertain about our country’s future because of the pandemic, this shows that the job of nation-building, continues; that the work of improving our infrastructure, boosting our economic growth prospects, and investing in our country’s brighter future, also doesn’t stop–especially for us in San Miguel,” he said.

More trains are set to arrive in the following months, up to next year, Ang said, until all 108 cars or 36 trainsets the company acquired, are delivered.

He also announced that despite continuing pandemic restrictions and pending right-of-way issues, the project itself is now at over 54% completion.

“There are many causes of delay, from necessary pandemic restrictions to ROW issues. But as with all SMC projects, we apply 110% effort to all the areas we can work on, so as to minimize delays,” Ang said.

The first test run of the project is set for December 2022. AAC

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