ICYMI: Travel passes for Tagaytay, one-meter social distancing on public transport, and more

Let’s do a recap before the start of another workweek
by TopGear.com.ph | Sep 20, 2020
PHOTO: Bong Nebrija on Facebook, Lance Lozano via Unsplash, Jerome Ascaño, LRTA via DOTr on Facebook

Parts of the Forbes Park wall collapsed onto EDSA

“Northbound motorists on EDSA will want to take extra care the next time they drive by Forbes Park’s outer wall along the busy thoroughfare.

“A portion of the exclusive subdivision’s perimeter wall collapsed last weekend, sending concrete falling onto EDSA and causing a small portion of the highway to be cordoned off for cleanup. Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic chief Bong Nebrija took to social media to share images of the scene, saying something must be done about the road hazard.

“‘Forbes Park perimeter wall collapsed on EDSA. No one was injured nor any car passing by that was damaged. MMDA has reported this matter to the homeowners association a long time ago but no action has been done yet,’ Nebrija wrote.

“‘Other parts of the wall are also at the brink of collapse as well, this is an accident waiting to happen especially now that the soil is saturated because of the rain.’”

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“Nebrija proceeded to call on the subdivision’s homeowners’ association to do something about the collapsing wall, and warned road users everyone passing along the affected portion of EDSA to exercise caution.”

Final answer: GCQ residents need a travel pass to go to Tagaytay

“Metro Manila residents seeking to go to Tagaytay for a break from the six-month-long quarantine still need to secure travel passes from their home local governments, said Joint Task Force COVID-19 Shield head Lt. Gen. Guillermo Elazar on Monday, September 14. Those traveling to Tagaytay from other parts of Cavite don’t need it.

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“The police official was reacting to a statement from the Tagaytay City government that it would not require travel passes from tourists. ‘Yung galing Metro Manila, pag pupunta pong Cavite, dapat may reason ka ng pagpunta doon, at kung hindi, dapat kukuha ka pa rin ng travel authority,’ Eleazar told reporters. ‘Unless baguhin po yan ng national task force, yan pa rin po ang ating susundin.’

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“Metro Manila is under general community quarantine or GCQ, while Tagaytay City is under the less restrictive modified general community quarantine or MGCQ.”

Here’s how Bayanihan II should benefit road users and the transport sector

“The Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, also known as the Bayanihan II Act, has been signed into law. Its P9.5 billion in appropriations is meant to help the Philippines bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic, but it also covers some mobility initiatives under the DOTr.

“In a Facebook post, the Department of Finance (DOF) shared that some of the interventions for the transport sector include providing assistance to businesses affected by the pandemic, the promotion of active modes of transport such as cycling, and the setting up of public utility vehicle (PUV) service contracting initiatives and additional pedestrian infrastructure:

“Under PUV service contracting, the government will subsidize operators to ply routes despite the low demand—a big help now that more businesses are beginning to open and working commuters could potentially face a shortage of rides in some areas.

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“The infrastructure that will be built include more sidewalks and bike lanes, as well as a proposed 644km bicycle lane network across Metro Manila’s circumferential and radial roads.”

Check out the first DOTr-certified Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Center

“After almost three decades of delay, the DOTr has officially recognized the first Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Center (PMVIC) in the country by issuing to the facility a certificate to operate.

QWIK Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Center located in Angeles City, Pampanga, was the first of the 32 newly established PMVICs to receive such a certification. The DOTr is targeting a total of 138 PMVICs to be operational in the country once the program is fully implemented. These facilities, however, have to wait for the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to release the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the vehicle testing process under the new Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS).

“According to the certificate to operate issued by the DOTr, this facility has met all the requirements set by the committee under Memorandum Circular No. 2019-009 (Revised Guidelines for Authorization of Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Center). The certificate is valid for five years unless it is canceled, suspended, or revoked by the DOTr. Insiders claim that more PVMICs are expected to be given the same certification by the DOTr as dry runs of the new MVIS procedure are carried out. These PMVICs will totally replace some 1,000 Private Emission Testing Centers (PETCs) that were first allowed to operate in 2001.

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“Under the DOTr’s schedule, 32 of the total 138 PMVICs were set to start operating by August 2020, but this was slightly delayed due to the prevailing health crisis. Insiders from the PMVIC are optimistic that the LTO will release the IRR anytime this month.”

SFEX construction is coming along nicely

“Construction of the country’s roads and highways is still underway despite the pandemic, and the Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX), which connects the provinces of Zambales and Bataan, is slowly taking shape.

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) secretary Mark Villar has shared an SFEX progress report on Facebook. The project is 8.2km long, and passes through Olongapo City and the towns of Dinalupihan, Hermosa, and Morong.

“Aside from the roads, work is currently in progress for the expressway’s tunnel. Shotcreting inside the tunnel and concreting of the invert slab is complete, along with the installation of geotextile and waterproofing membrane. Preparations for concreting the tunnel’s wall and crown are also underway, and the overall construction of the tunnel is set to finish in the next 12 months.”

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Provincial buses could make a comeback within the month

Bus operations between Metro Manila and the provinces could resume as early as September, authorities said on September 16, in a potential breakthrough for those with families outside the capital.

“Rules are being ironed out to address the concerns of local governments (LGU), said LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra III. The resumption of provincial bus services will follow a reduction of physical-distancing rules in public transport.

“‘We need to coordinate with the LGUs concerned kasi sila ang sasalo ng mga pasahero and since we are in the context of a pandemic, naghahanda din yung mga LGUs [kungpaano nila iha-handle yung pasahero,” Delgra said. 

The LRT-2 Extension is now 92.14% complete

“Commuters can expect shorter travel times from Antipolo to Manila as construction for the LRT-2 East Extension Project is almost done, the DOTr said on September 16.

“The progress rate of the project is at 92.14%, and the 3.8km railway extension is set to be fully operational by April 2021. Two stations comprise this extension: Emerald station in Marikina and Masinag station in Antipolo, Rizal.

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“Once up and running, it will cut travel time from Masinag to Recto, Manila, to just 40 minutes. Traveling from Masinag to Recto by bus or jeepney usually takes 3 hours.”

Here’s this month’s Skyway Stage 3 progress report

“Motorists can soon pass through the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3, which is expected to reduce travel time between Buendia to Balintawak to 15 to 20 minutes from two hours.

“The construction of the elevated expressway is currently at 88.72%, according to the DPWH, with the collapsed section replaced. This does not include Section 2A or the Tomas Claudio–PUP Santa Mesa segment.

“‘As of latest report, lower and upper coping beams for pier 3, 4, 5 were reconstructed, and deck slab for spans 5 and 6 were completed as well. These were the burned sections from the fire incident (last February),’ said DPWH secretary Mark Villar.

“‘We are intensifying our road right-of-way acquisition so we may soon begin construction at Section 2A. So far, we have acquired 231 out of the 350 lots that need to be acquired with permit to enter.’

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“The 18.83km expressway, which can accommodate an average of 55,000 vehicles per day, will also serve as a direct toll-road link between the North Luzon Expressway and the South Luzon Expressway.”

San Juan City residents, you now have 24/7 bike and jogging lanes

“The Greenhills Active Playground in San Juan City has officially opened. This area is located around the Greenhills Shopping Center, and it features dedicated lanes for bicycles and joggers. The best part? It’s open 24/7.

“The area covered includes the streets which the city government turned into no-parking zones back in August 2019. The lanes have been painted accordingly and traffic poles have been laid out around the area. Signage have also been put up for both playground users and motorists alike. According to the mall operators, one lap around the complex is equivalent to one kilometer.

“There are also designated bicycle parking areas established around the mall. To give you an overview, you can see the map here.”

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Heads-up, Cavitex users: This could make your trip quicker

“One lane of the Parañaque Toll Plaza will now serve as a pass-through lane for southbound motorists on the Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX). The new traffic scheme will be in effect from 5am in the morning to 9pm at night, and cars who utilize the lane will instead pay P89 at the Kawit Toll Plaza.

“CAVITEX has also opened its Pacific Drive entry point, which will now serve as an alternate route onto the expressway for motorists coming from Roxas Boulevard and Macapagal Boulevard.

“Expressway management is also reminding everyone to get their Easytrip RFIDs before the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) full implementation of contactless transaction requirements on November 2, 2020. In case you aren’t aware, the DOTr issued Department Order No. 2020-012 several weeks ago to address the COVID-19 pandemic. It requires cashless payment along all of the country’s expressways.”

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Drivers of PUVs have to ensure social distancing among passengers

“Drivers of public utility vehicles who violate social-distancing measures in their vehicles will have their licenses confiscated, the chief of the country’s security force on COVID-19 said on September 18.

“‘The point is, if ever there is violation na makikita ng ating law enforcers inside the vehicle, at even doon sa mga sasakyan in the terminal, then the drivers will be cited,’ Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, commander of Joint Task Force COVID Shield, told ANC.

“Highway patrollers will check vehicles at random, as there aren’t enough enforcers to inspect every single car, jeepney, or bus plying the roads, he said.

“President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to decide by September 21 whether or not the one-meter physical distancing rule will be eased.”

It’s official: One-meter distancing to be maintained in public transport

“The required distance between passengers in all forms of public transport shall remain at one meter, Presidential spokeperson Harry Roque confirmed on September 19.

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“‘Nag-desisyon na po ang Presidente kahapon (September 18). Ang desisyon po ng Presidente, mananatili po ang one-meter social distancing sa pampublikong transportasyon,’ Roque said.

“This comes following the decision of the Department of Transportation and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to reduce the social-distancing requirement in public transport from one meter to 0.75 meters, in a bid to meet increasing passenger demand as the economy reopens. The policy, which kicked off on September 14 but was suspended just three days later, would have seen the social-distancing requirement further reduced to 0.5 meters, then eventually t0 0.3 meters, at two-week intervals.

“In a statement, the DOTr said it will ‘strictly enforce’ the latest policy: ‘The President has spoken. We shall aggressively comply [with] and strictly enforce the 1-meter physical distancing in all public transport as envisioned and mandated.’”

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PHOTO: Bong Nebrija on Facebook, Lance Lozano via Unsplash, Jerome Ascaño, LRTA via DOTr on Facebook
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