ICYMI: Makati suspends coding, Skyway Extension northbound opening, LRT updates

The first week of MECQ
by TopGear.com.ph | Apr 18, 2021
PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño, San Miguel Corporation, PhilippineRailways (from Wikimedia Commons), Google Maps

Public-transport guidelines remain unchanged under MECQ

Department of Transportation (DOTr) assistant secretary Goddes Libiran has announced that there will are no changes in capacity and operations of public transport under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ). “Kung ano po ang public transport modes na available noong GCQ, ganoon pa rin po ang ipatutupad ngayong MECQ,” she said in a Facebook post.

“But there were additional PUJ routes in Metro Manila as well as provincial bus routes to be opened by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) under the DOTr’s new directives. Sixty PUJ routes were opened on April 13 and 190 provincial PUB routes on April 15. Only authorized persons outside of residence (APOR) are allowed to board PUVs.

“The DOTr has also made it clear that there will be no fare hikes during this new MECQ period. To check out the full guidelines on public transport, check out this previous story.”

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Car registration: Validity of plates ending in 3 and 4 extended

“After announcing that its offices in the Greater Manila Area will remain closed until the end of April following the declaration of MECQ, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) has now confirmed that it is extending the validity of registration for vehicles with license plates ending in 3 and 4.

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“Registration validity for cars with license plates ending in 3 will now end on June 30, while those with plates ending in 4 will end on July 31.

“You can check out the LTO’s official announcement in the Facebook post here.”

Driver’s licenses and student permits: Documents expiring under ECQ/MECQ get extended validity

“The LTO is also extending the validity of student permits and driver’s and conductor’s licenses that should have expired during this year’s ECQ and MECQ periods. According to the agency’s advisory, all such licenses and permits will be valid until July 31, 2021.

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“Take note, however, that the LTO did not specify whether or not this is applicable only to those within the Greater Manila bubble. We’ve tried reaching out to the agency regarding this, but they have not responded as of this writing. In any case, if your license or permit expired during this period, but you are situated outside the ECQ/MECQ areas, then we suggest you get in touch with a nearby operational LTO office for more details.

“In addition, the LTO announced that all temporary operator’s permits that expired within the period covering March 15 to April 30 will be valid until May 31, 2021. For this one, the LTO explicitly stated that this applies only to Greater Manila and other identified areas. You can view the official announcement here.”

No coding in Makati City during MECQ

“At least for this MECQ period, Makati City’s local government has made it clear that number coding will also be lifted under its jurisdiction.

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“No dates were specified in the announcement, so we’re guessing the coding suspension will continue in case MECQ is extended or ECQ is reimposed. Elsewhere in Metro Manila, number coding remains suspended until further notice.”

Skyway Extension: Northbound segment now open to motorists

“After a few major delays, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has officially opened the northbound section of the Skyway Extension Project.

“This extension of the Skyway road network spans 4km from Susana Heights to Sucat in Parañaque. It provides northbound motorists easier access to the Skyway and the Skyway Stage 3, bypassing the usual heavy traffic around the Alabang area of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

“‘I am proud to announce to motorists from the south that finally, our long-awaited Skyway Extension northbound section is finally open. Our long-term solution to addressing traffic particularly on SLEX heading to the Alabang area has finally been realized,’ said SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang. ‘This would not have been possible without the support of our government, led by President Duterte and the ‘Build Build Build’ team, who have helped us in so many ways to complete this project.

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“‘I’d like to thank, too, the local government of Muntinlupa and our private sector stakeholders, without whom we could not have gotten this done. Most of all, thank you to our motorists, for bearing with us. We are excited for you to finally be able to feel the benefits of this new project.’

“This three-lane northbound section can cater to about 4,500 vehicles per hour. It is estimated to cut travel time from SLEX to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) to around 25 to 30 minutes.

“The Skyway Extension Project is open only to Class 1 vehicles with RFIDs. Passage through this segment is still free of charge until further notice.”

Skyway Extension: Hillsborough off-ramp closure begins on April 19

“After opening the northbound section of the Skyway Extension, San Miguel Corporation has announced that work on the southbound side ‘will advance and move at a faster pace’ to meet the project’s completion by the third quarter of 2021. Until then, however, regular users of the tollway need to be very patient on the road, because Skyway’s Hillsborough southbound off-ramp will be closed permanently to traffic beginning April 19 at 6am.

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“The following alternative routes are available to Class 1 vehicles:

  1. For those coming from Pasay, Makati, Manila, and Quezon City bound for SLEX and farther south: From the elevated portion of Skyway, keep left to the steel ramp toward your destination
  2. For those coming from Pasay, Makati, Manila, and Quezon City bound for Alabang: From the elevated portion of Skyway, keep right to the Alabang-Zapote off-ramp

“The two-lane, 4km southbound section of the Skyway Extension runs from the main toll plaza of Skyway to Soldier’s Hills in Muntinlupa. The already operational northbound section, meanwhile, also spans 4km from Susana Heights to Sucat. 

“SMC president Ramon S. Ang noted that the opening of the northbound section—passage on which remains toll-free until further notice—has made a noticeable improvement on traffic flow along SLEX and the Alabang viaduct.

“‘We’re already seeing how convenient and much faster travel is now, and it will become even more evident when traffic volume picks up and starts to normalize,’ he said. ‘That is why we’d again like to ask for our motorists’ cooperation and understanding as we move toward completion of the southbound Skyway Extension.’”

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Skyway Extension: Alabang steel ramp now exclusive to southbound motorists

“SMC has also confirmed that starting 6am on April 19, the steel ramp near the Alabang viaduct will be made exclusive to southbound motorists.

“This is the two-lane steel ramp that connects the at-grade portion of SLEX to the Skyway. It was opened way in late 2019 to help ease the worsening traffic caused by the start of construction of the Skyway Extension.

For northbound motorists who are headed to Pasay, Makati, Manila, or Quezon City and are looking to enter the metro via Skyway, SMC is suggesting you take either of these two routes:

  1. For Class 1 vehicles coming in from the south (before Alabang): Simply take the new northbound Skyway Extension on-ramp near Soldiers Hills
  2. For Class 1 vehicles coming in from Alabang: Enter SLEX via the Filinvest southbound on-ramp, exit via Susana Heights off-ramp, make a U-turn and drive onto the Susana Heights SLEX northbound on-ramp, then head onto the Skyway Extension on-ramp near Soldiers Hills”
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LRT-1 will have temporary closures on two weekends

“Following the temporary shutdown of the LRT-1 during Holy Week, the Light Rail Manila Corporation has now announced that the train line’s operations will be suspended on two consecutive weekends, from April 17 to 18 and from April 24 to 25. This closure will also help make way for preparations for the rollout of the new trains later this year.

“The DOTr has likewise advised the public that there will be buses plying Route 17—Monumento to Edsa via Rizal Avenue or Taft Avenue—to serve as alternatives for commuters affected by the LRT-1 closure.

“Also, the agency has clarified that there will be no changes to the current LRT-1 weekday schedule, wherein northbound trains operate from 4:30am to 9:15pm and southbound trains from 4:30am to 9:30pm.”

LRT-2 will have shorter hours until the end of the month

“Citing the rising number of COVID-19 cases among its frontline personnel, the Light Rail Transit Authority has announced that LRT-2 operating hours will be shortened from April 17 to 30.

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The first trains of the day will depart from the terminus stations of Santolan and Recto at 6am, or an hour later than the regular 5am departure. The last trains will then leave Santolan and Recto at 6pm; previously, the final trips departed from Santolan at 8:30pm and from Recto at 9pm.

“Regular operating hours will resume on May 1.

“The shortened hours will be another challenge for frontline and essential workers who rely on the LRT-2 for their daily commute. In a separate statement, the Department of Transportation said that buses plying Route 9 (Antipolo to Cubao) and Route 10 (Cubao to Doroteo Jose) will ‘augment LRT-2 operations [and] help accommodate affected passengers.’”

LRT-2 East Extension inauguration has been moved to June

“The DOTr has delayed the inauguration of the LRT-2 East Extension due to the surge of COVID-19 cases in the country. Instead of April 26, the LRT-2 East Extension will now be inaugurated on June 23.

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“This move comes in a bid to prioritize the safety of both commuters and rail workers, the DOTr says. Another reason for the delay is that foreign rail experts who must be present for the final stages of the project—which is already 96.51% complete—are still unable to enter the country due to travel restrictions.”

Six PETCs suspended for falsifying emissions test results

“The commotion surrounding the LTO’s Motor Vehicle Inspection System and the new private motor vehicle inspection centers (PMVIC) has died down a bit over the past month or so, but it appears the DOTr is continuing its crackdown on erring private emission testing centers (PETCs).

“Through the agency’s Investigation Security and Law Enforcement Staff, it has suspended six different PETCs that have been caught falsifying emission test results. The erring testing centers are as follows:

  1. JAL Emission Testing Center-Roxas – Datiles Street, Barangay Tiza, Roxas City, Capiz
  2. JPV Motor Vehicle Emission Testing Center-Capiz – Taft Street, Poblacion, Dumalag, Capiz
  3. JPV Motor Vehicle Emission Testing Center-Roxas City – Hermingway Street, Barangay Tiza, Roxas City, Capiz
  4. AJM Emission Testing Center – MacArthur Highway, Sto. Domingo, Angeles City, Pampanga
  5. Thessan Emission Testing Center – San Roque, Iriga City, Camarines Sur
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“The suspension order was officially issued on April 7, 2021 and will be effective for 90 days. The order was also served to the PETCs’ corresponding IT service providers, who will also receive the same sanctions if they continue to process data from the suspended PETCs.

“For those still confused about the LTO’s new system, take note that for now, car owners only need to bring their vehicles to either a PMVIC or PETC, not both. However, you should also keep in mind that regardless of which testing center you choose, your car must still undergo a visual inspection before it can be registered.”

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PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño, San Miguel Corporation, PhilippineRailways (from Wikimedia Commons), Google Maps
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