|17 February 2015|
|Palace announces approval of major infrastructure projects|
| The Palace has announced the approval of several infrastructure projects aimed at easing traffic congestion and enhancing trade, following Monday’s meeting of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board chaired by President Benigno S. Aquino III.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said that the approved projects include the construction of the P5.1-billion Panguil Bay Bridge, which will connect the city of Tangub in Misamis Occidental and Tubod in Lanao del Norte.
Once the bridge is constructed, travel time between the two areas will be reduced from two-and-a-half hours to 37 minutes, Coloma said.
Many areas in northern Mindanao will benefit from the project, among them the Zamboanga Peninsula, SOCCSKSARGEN (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City), the Davao region, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), he said.
The NEDA Board also approved the expansion of the P6.7-billion Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) from two lanes to four lanes, and the P20-billion North Luzon Expressway (NLEX-SLEX) Connector Road Project, which needed to be re-approved after a lapse of 18 months.
Also approved by the NEDA Board was the Cavite-Laguna Expressway Project (CALAX).
In November last year, President Aquino instructed the Department of Public Works and Highways to rebid the project and on Monday the NEDA Board approved it, Coloma said, adding that the bid parameter will be the highest premium, with a minimum bid price of P20.105 billion.
Also approved on Monday was the first phase of the North-South Commuter Railway Project under the Department of Transportation and Communications.
The P117.3-billion project will center on the construction of a 36.7-km narrow-gauge elevated commuter railway of the Philippine National Railways from Malolos, Bulacan to Tutuban, Manila.
The project also involves the procurement of rolling stock and installation of electro-mechanical systems, Coloma said.
Also approved for implementation was the North-South Railway Project — South Line commuter railway project from Tutuban to Calamba, Laguna and the long haul railway operations between Tutuban and Legaspi, Albay. This includes the extended operations on the branch line between Calamba and Batangas and extension between Legaspi and Matnog, Sorsogon, Coloma said.
The project involves the repair and rehabilitation of existing rail lines, he said.
The projects approved by the NEDA Board aim to ease the traffic congestion in Metro Manila, especially the NLEX-SLEX Connector and the CALAX, he said.
“Importante kasi ito dahil ang patuloy na pag-unlad ng ating ekonomiya ay nakabatay doon sa pagiging mahusay ang daloy ng produkto at mga tao at na-identify na po ang congestion sa Metro Manila bilang isang pangunahing problema,” Coloma said.
“Malaking oras at malaking halaga ang nasasayang dahil sa mahigpit ng kondisyon ng traffic sa Kamaynilaan. Kaya ito ay tuwirang tinutukoy sa pamamagitan nitong mga connectivity and infrastructure projects,” he added. PND (as)
|Palace calls on whoever has information on Mamasapano incident to submit it to authorities|
| The Palace on Tuesday called on whoever has information relevant to the inquiry on the Mamasapano incident, to submit it to any of the bodies conducting the investigation.
“Kung sinuman po ang mayroong impormasyon na makakatulong doon sa pag-alam ng katotohanan hinggil sa naganap noong Enero 24, 25 sa Maguindanao, dapat lang siguro na isumite ito doon sa pagdinig na kasalukuyang nagaganap, para maisama ito sa pagturing ng mga mahalagang kaganapan at sa pagbabatid ng katotohanan,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr said during a press briefing in Malacañang.
Coloma was commenting on reports that Senator Alan Peter Cayetano has cited US documents linking Malaysian terrorist, Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Marwan and bomb expert, Abdul Basit Usman, were the target of the police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25 that resulted in the death of 44 members of the police’s elite force. The operation succeeded in neutralizing Marwan but Usman eluded arrest.
On the video footage showing members of the MILF training in their camps even with the ongoing ceasefire between the military and the rebel group, Coloma said the Armed Forces will not allow peace to be disrupted.
“Patuloy naman ang pagganap ng pamahalaan sa tungkulin nito na tutukan lahat ng mga pangyayari at kaganapan sa bansa na maaaring may kinalaman sa seguridad ng ating mga mamamayan,” he said. “So kung merong mga aberrations o unusual events na hindi dapat nagaganap ngunit nagaganap, tinututukan ito at ginagawa ng pamahalaan ang lahat ng nararapat para mapawi ang ligalig at maalis ang mga banta sa seguridad ng ating mga mamamayan,” said Coloma. PND (ag)
|President Aquino to lead 29th EDSA People Power Revolution anniversary next week|
| President Benigno S. Aquino III will lead the 29th anniversary celebration of the EDSA People Power Revolution on February 25, as major events are set to be held in Malacañang Palace and at the EDSA Shrine in Quezon City.
On February 24, the President will participate in a ceremony to honor outstanding youth organizations, to be held at the Heroes Hall of Malacañang, Emily Abrera of the EDSA People Power Commission said on Tuesday.
Abrera said the commission has partnered with the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) Awards Foundation to honor youth organizations that have exemplified the spirit of People Power and bayanihan through their programs and projects.
The award, now on its 12th year, continues to encourage youth involvement in nation building, she said.
There will also be a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig on the morning of February 24 to commemorate all past heroes, including the military personnel who were at the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, Abrera said, adding that former president Fidel Ramos will be invited to lead the activities.
On February 25, President Aquino and the rest of the First Family will be invited as guests of honor for the activities at the EDSA Shrine, which will begin with a wreath-laying ceremony at the People Power Monument.
A mass will then be held at the EDSA Shrine, to be celebrated by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.
“Groups and individuals who peacefully fought for freedom and democracy will also be in attendance,” Abrera said, noting that organizers are keeping this year’s celebration simple but are planning to go all out for the 30th anniversary next year.
This year’s anniversary celebration will carry the theme, “Ipagpatuloy ang Pagbabago.” PND (as)
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