Tugade eyes Sangley Airport construction to be done by September

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 27, 2019   •   1304

Danilo Atienza Air Base or Sangley Airport

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade said it is possible to finish the construction of the Sangley Airport by September.

The contractor already increased their personnel and construction will be done 24/7.

“Sabi ng pangulo November. Habulin natin ng November but knowing me [it will be] September, pinapa-advance ko (The president said November. We will aim for November but knowing me, it will be September. I advanced the deadline),” according to Tugade.

Based on the contractor’s report, the airport’s drainage is already 70 percent complete, while the passenger terminal building is only 40 percent complete.

Once the construction is finished, several domestic flights from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will be transferred to Sangley Airport. This is the government’s solution to decongest NAIA.

Meanwhile, according to Philippine Airlines Inc. officer-in-charge Vivienne Tan, they are still unsure as to how many or which flights will be transferred.

“What we will do is to do a careful study, of course, we would really support the government on decongesting our airport traffic,” she said.—AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

PH ports ramp up screening process for travelers vs coronavirus threat

Robie de Guzman   •   January 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Airports, seaports and other transportation hub in the country will be ramping up screening processes for arrivals amid the threat of a new coronavirus strain spreading internationally, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Thursday.

In a statement, the DOTr said transit hubs in the country have been ordered to intensify measures to stop the illness from potentially entering the Philippines ahead of the expected influx of passengers for the celebration of Chinese New year on January 25.

“Please adopt all measures necessary and expedient to address the issue on coronavirus, considering world developments and the influx of passengers expected this Lunar New Year,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.

In response to Tugade’s directive, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines director general Jim Sydiongco said they have reactivated their communicable disease preparedness procedures and airport frontline personnel were advised to wear face masks, maintain proper hygiene and practice regular handwashing.

“Posting of public advisories informing about coronavirus infections and the strict monitoring of suspected passengers are also being enforced,” Sydiongco said.

He added that airport personnel were also directed to exercise extreme vigilance in handling passenger arrivals to strictly monitor those who are possibly infected by the virus.

Sydiongco also assured they are tightly monitoring arriving passengers, especially at the Kalibo International Airport, which has direct flights from Wuhan City in China – the area where the new strain of coronavirus was first detected on December 31, 2019.

The Philippine Ports Authority also ordered all ports in the country to intensify passenger screening at arrival areas, especially in places frequently visited by tourists such as Bohol and Caticlan in Aklan.

The Philippine Coast Guard, for its part, advised all its medical units to be on high alert to prevent the possible spread of new coronavirus strain in the country.

The DOTr also assured that stricter passenger screening processes are also in place land terminals and railway networks.

“As we implement preventive measures and stringent monitoring of passengers in our transportation hubs nationwide, we implore the public to cooperate with the authority and also be vigilant in their travels at all times,” Tugade said.

The death toll from the novel coronavirus called 2019-nCov has risen to 17, with over 400 individuals infected across China, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, United States, Taiwan and Macau.

There is no confirmed case yet of 2019-nCoV in the Philippines, according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, but they are monitoring several individuals who were reported to have manifested symptoms of respiratory illness.

Common symptoms of 2019-nCoV include cough, throat irritation and fever. The World Health Organization (WHO) said novel coronavirus causes respiratory infections which may develop into severe cases such as pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death if left untreated.

Coronavirus, which is a large group of viruses common among animals, causes illness ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The virus can be transmitted to humans through contact with an infected person or animal.

DOTr-TWG: Pilot test run of motorcycle taxis to continue

Maris Federez   •   January 22, 2020

Members of the Riders of the Philippines (ROTP) advocacy group stage a protest motorcade to demonstrate against a ban on using motorbikes in ride-sharing platforms in Quezon City (Metro Manila), the Philippines, 16 December 2018. EPA-EFE FILE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation-Technical Working Group (DOTr-TWG) will not be pushing through with its plan to stop the pilot test run of motorcycle taxis in Metro Manila and Cebu following a meeting with concerned stakeholders on the new policies set by the government.

Motorcycle taxis can still operate with no fear of getting apprehended by authorities until the three-month pilot test run ends on March 23.

The decision was issued following an executive session of the DOTr-TWG officials with representatives of motorcycle taxi companies at the House of Representatives on Wednesday (Jan. 22).

“Sabi namin we are considering all sentiments yung recommendations that’s why we came up to this adding of area of study and the raising of the cap,” said DOTr-TWG chief Antonio Gardiola.

They also agreed to raise the cap of motorcycle taxi units that will be allowed to operate from 39,000 to 63,000, and to include Cagayan de Oro in the rest run.

Metro Manila will have a limit of 45,000 motorcycle taxi units in operation; while Cebu and CDO will have 9,000 each.

Angkas, JoyRide, and Move It will have an equal share of these numbers.

Meanwhile, Angkas has promised to withdraw the charges it filed before the court against the guidelines set by the government on motorcycle taxis.

“We are now in the spirit of collaboration we spoke with the secretary yesterday..we also headed to the opinions of the senators and on the good congressmen today […] hopefully we can get the success of the pilot for the necessary law to be passed,” Angkas Chief Transport Advocate George Royeca said.

The DOTr-TWG has likewise withdrawn its recommendation to blacklist Angkas in the pilot test run.

The agency has earlier recommended the termination of the pilot test run of motorcycle taxis due to the charges that Angkas filed.

The registration of motorcycle taxis is ongoing, while the TWG and concerned parties decide on its deadline.

The TWG will still not allow entry of new motorcycle taxi companies until the end of the pilot test run. — (from the report of Joan Nano) /mbmf

DOTr-MRT 3: ‘Suicide bomber’ caught in Taft Avenue part of security test

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 22, 2020

The Department of Transportation Metro Rail Transit (DOTr-MRT 3) clarified that the reports about a suicide bomber caught in Taft Avenue is only a part of their penetration test.

The DOTr-MRT 3 assured passengers that there was no real suicide bomber caught in Taft Avenue on Wednesday (January 22).

In a Facebook post, the department clarified it was only a part of their penetration test which aims to measure the alertness of security personnel in all MRT 3 stations.

“Wala pong dapat ipag-alala ang aming mga pasahero sapagkat ito ay isa lamang ‘penetration test’ na ginawa ng Philippine National Police (PNP) kahapon, 21 Enero 2020, 2:20 p.m. sa MRT-3 Cubao station, (Our passengers have nothing to worry about because this only a part of our ‘penetration test’ conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday, 21 January 2020, 2:20 p.m. at MRT-3 Cubao station)” their post reads.

The DOTr-MRT 3 reminds passengers not to easily believe in ‘fake news’ or wrong information circulating on social media. Passengers were also reminded to verify the information they receive and check with legitimate sources.—AAC

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