06 January 2015

Government appeals to importers to move cargoes out of Manila port before Feast of Nazarene, Papal visit
The government has appealed to importers to pull out their cargoes from the Port of Manila before the Feast of the Black Nazarene on Friday and the Papal visit, which starts Thursday next week.

“We are appealing to the private sector, we are appealing to the importers, to all the cargo handlers: Could you please pull out as much of your cargoes now while we are able to? What do we mean by now? That’s today, tomorrow, and Thursday,” Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said during a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday.

The Feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo falls on Friday, January 9. Classes in Manila, as well as work in city government offices, have been suspended on this day.

Secretary Almendras made the same appeal to importers to claim their cargoes before Thursday, January 15, the day Pope Francis arrives for a five-day visit to the Philippines. January 15, 16 and 19 have been declared as non-working days in the National Capital Region.

Almendras further appealed to businesses that have refrigerated vans in the Port of Manila to pull them out.

“We have noted a significant increase in the refrigerated vans na hindi pinu-pull out. Ang problema po, there is not enough space in the port for refrigerated vans of the volume that we are now seeing… So, nakikiusap din po kami, through media, to all those importers, all those businesses who have these refrigerated vans inside the port, kung pwede lang po, please pull them out as fast as you can,” he said.

He said the Bureau of Quarantine, Bureau of Plant Industry and other government offices that give clearances, will help facilitate the moving out of the refrigerated vans. PND (ag)

MRT, LRT fare hike means better services, new facilities, says Palace
The Palace has appealed for more patience from the public, saying the increase in MRT and LRT fares would mean better services and facilities.

In a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. laid out the projects to be carried out for the improvement of the MRT and LRT and their corresponding timetables.

“Ipinapakita po natin ito upang ipaliwanag at ipaunawa sa ating mga mamamayan ang konteksto ng pinag-uusapan din ngayon hinggil sa pagbago ng sistema ng pagsingil na ‘yung pagdadagdag ng singil sa pamasahe, kasabay naman nito ‘yung seryosong programa sa pagpapahusay at pagpapabuti ng mga pasilidad ng MRT at LRT,” Secretary Coloma said in a brief presentation.

“Kaya’t hinihiling po natin ang pag-unawa ng ating mga mamamayan sa mga kasalukuyang kaganapan.”

Coloma said the most important part of the project is the MRT capacity expansion.

“Simula sa Setyembre ng taong ito, madagdagan ng 48 coaches o bagon ang MRT. Pagkatapos makumpleto ito, dadami ang biyahe at iikli ang panahon ng paghihintay. Binibigyan din ng prayoridad ang rail installation o pagpapalit ng riles,” he said.

Also part of the project, he said, is the upgrade of the MRT’s ancillary systems, such as the power substations, depot facilities for parking, the construction of the North Avenue turnback and Taft Avenue pocket track extension, the upgrade of the signaling system, the overhaul of 25 light rail vehicles and traction motors, and the installation of a new radio communications system.

Most of these will be carried out starting February, while the process of obtaining the necessary services has begun, he said.

“Ina-announce pa kasi muna ang pagdaraos ng public bidding, pagkatapos ang pagdaraos mismo ng bidding, ang proseso ng pag-a-award at publication,” he explained.

The MRT and LRT fares on Sunday were raised by 50 percent to 87 percent. The new base fare is P11, with an additional P1 for every kilometer. End-to-end fare for MRT 3 increased from P15 to P28.

The fares for LRT 1 were raised from P20 to P30 for single-journey tickets and to P29 for stored-value cards, while those for LRT 2 increased from P15 to P25 for single-journey tickets and to P24 for stored-value cards. PND (as)