COVID-19 Crisis: Construction of 36-bed modular hospital in Las Piñas City progressing

According to a Manila Bulletin news report, the construction of a modular hospital designed to provide additional bed space as part of the Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center (LPGH-STC) in Barangay Pulanglupa 1 in Las Piñas City is progressing and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is involved. The said project was inspected recently by DPWH Secretary Mark Villar and his sister Las Piñas City Representative Camille Villar.

What exactly will the new project do in relation to the COVID-19 crisis and the City of Las Piñas? To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the news report. Some parts in boldface…

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark A. Villar recently inspected the ongoing construction of a modular hospital being undertaken by the DPWH to aid in the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) program of Las Piñas City.

Villar, together with his sister and Las Piñas Rep. Camille A. Villar, checked the project which is being implemented inside the Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center (LPGH-STC) at the Bernabe Compound, Diego Cera Ave, Pulanglupa I.

“Our team from the DPWH Las Piñas-Muntinlupa District Engineering Office has so far accomplished 90 percent of the facility complete with ventilation systems, oxygen lines, and air condition units,” said Secretary Villar.

“We are building a modular hospital capable of accommodating 36 COVID-19 patients. This will hopefully bring relief, decongesting the existing facilities of LPGH-STC so they can focus on treating severe cases or other non-COVID-19 patients,” said Secretary Villar.

The report ended by stating that the new modular hospital is expected to not only be completed but also open today – June 24, 2021. Its construction began in April 2021.

Any Las Piñas resident who has yet to get registered for free COVID-19 vaccines can learn the ways (4 methods) of registration by clicking here. Anyone who is ready and willing to register online can click bit.ly/LasPiñasVaccination

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Does this new facility make you feel confident about the city’s pandemic efforts?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

Skyway Stage 3 Quirino southbound exit now open to motorists

Hey readers! Have you been driving along Skyway Stage 3 lately? In case you missed the news, the southbound Quirino exit of Skyway Stage 3 was officially opened this past Monday. To be specific, it allows motorists from Balintawak and Quezon Avenue to travel to Manila much faster and safer than before.

In a May 24, 2021 Facebook page post, San Miguel Corporation president Ramon S. Ang wrote: Together with the DPWH, we opened today the Quirino southbound exit of Skyway Stage 3. This will cut travel time from Balintawak and Quezon Ave. to Manila to less than 20 mins from the usual 1.5 hours. In the midst of the pandemic, we remain committed to delivering sustainable infrastructure that will ensure better lives for the present and future generations. This is the world we want.

The Quirino exit on the southbound lane of Skyway Stage 3 formally opened. (source – Ramon S. Ang Facebook page)

To put things in perspective some more, posted below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) article about the same subject matter. Some parts in boldface…

San Miguel Corporation (SMC), through SMC Infrastructure, opened Monday the southbound Quirino exit of the Skyway Stage 3 elevated expressway to Class-1 vehicles, allowing motorists coming from Balintawak and Quezon Avenue to directly reach Manila within less than 20 minutes from 1.5 hours without traffic.

The opening was led by Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar and SMC president Ramon S. Ang.

“The full completion of Skyway Stage 3 will divert at least 75,000 vehicles away from EDSA or C5. This is a realization of President Duterte’s promise to decongest EDSA. Skyway Stage 3 is proof that the private sector and the government can work together towards a unified solution,” Villar said.

Ang said the opening of the Quirino southbound exit will greatly improve accessibility from Quezon City and Manila.

“With more private vehicles diverted to Skyway Stage 3 on their way back from NLEX (North Luzon Expressway), or coming from Quezon Avenue, to Manila, traffic on our major public roads as well as on streets usually utilized as ‘shortcuts’ or ‘alternate routes’, will be a thing of the past. This will redound to relief from congestion and faster and easier commutes for many of our countrymen on our major thoroughfares. We thank President Duterte and the government team led by Secretary Villar for all their support,” he said.

And said SMC will continue to deliver on its commitment to bring motorists quality infrastructure that addresses congestion and lack of accessibility.

“We remain dedicated to providing convenient and seamless travel for motorists to help decongest Metro Manila and enable growth in all areas that we reach,” he added.

SMC, which fully-funded and built 100 percent of the Skyway Stage 3, said the expressway now has 15 operational ramps.

These include Northbound entry/on-ramps — Buendia (Zobel) and Quezon Avenue; Southbound entry/on ramps –Balintawak, Quezon Avenue and Plaza Dilao; Northbound exit/off ramps –Quirino Avenue, Nagtahan, Quezon Avenue, A. Bonifacio, and Balintawak; and Southbound exit/off ramps –Quezon Avenue, E. Rodriguez, Nagtahan, Quirino and Buendia (Zobel).

Now here is a related news video for your viewing pleasure and learning…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Have you traveled along Skyway Stage 3 and exited through Quirino already? If you did, what was the experience like? How fast did it take you to travel from Balintawak or Quezon Avenue to exit through Quirino? Is the southbound travel along Skyway Stage 3 even better now that the Quirino exit is open?

To all motorists based in Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Parañaque, how often did you travel along Skyway Stage 3 this year?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

San Miguel Corporation to speed up work on completing Skyway Extension

You must have heard about the opening of the northbound section (entry point at Susana Heights part of the South Luzon Expressway) of the Skyway Extension Project that happened just days ago with the presence of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president Ramon S. Ang and Department of Highways and Public Works (DPWH) secretary Mark Villar who made final inspections that day. That’s really great news!

Here are more good news! SMC announced that it will do more with the construction of the Skyway Extension Project’s southbound section (exit also in the Susana Heights area of SLEX) and things will move at a faster pace with a 3rd quarter completion in mind.

To put things in perspective, below is the excerpt from the press release published through Philippine News Agency (PNA)…

“It’s only been a number of days since we opened the northbound section, free to the public until further notice, and already we have seen a huge improvement in traffic flow, particularly on SLEX (South Luzon Expressway) and the Alabang viaduct. That makes us even more determined to complete construction of the southbound section so this project can fully serve motorists and improve traffic and connectivity to and from the south,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said in a statement Wednesday.

Ang said the soft-opening of the first two of the three lanes of the northbound Skyway Extension from Susana Heights to Sucat, Paranaque proved to be timely, as it coincided with the easing of quarantine restrictions.

Despite the higher volume of vehicles on the expressway, traffic has been smooth because many Class 1 vehicles now use the Skyway Extension. 

“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. That is why we’d again like to ask for our motorists’ cooperation and understanding as we move towards completion of the southbound Skyway Extension,” Ang said.

As part of the next phase of construction, Ang said the Hillsborough off-ramp of the elevated southbound Skyway will be closed to traffic permanently starting April 19 at 6 a.m.

As such, vehicles coming from the elevated Skyway will now exit at the steel ramp in Alabang. Heavy traffic is expected in this area.

“Unfortunately, there is no way around it, we need to close this portion to secure the staging ground for equipment and workers and to accelerate construction and ensure the safety of our motorists. I appeal to our motorists again for their patience and understanding. We expect heavy traffic to persist for the duration of the construction, but rest assured we will do everything we can to help mitigate this, and complete the project within the timetable,” Ang said.

With this, SMC Infrastructure is advising motorists to take the following alternative routes:

Class 1 vehicles from Pasay, Makati, Manila, and Quezon City bound for SLEX and farther South

• From Skyway Elevated, keep left to Steel Ramp towards destination.

Class 1 vehicles from Pasay, Makati, Manila, and Quezon City bound for Alabang

• From Skyway – Elevated, keep right to Alabang-Zapote off-ramp.

The Skyway Extension southbound section has two lanes and runs from the Skyway Main Toll Plaza to Soldier’s Hills in Muntinlupa, with a total distance of four kilometers. 

Meanwhile, Ang reiterated that use of the northbound Skyway Extension will remain free for motorists until further notice. 

The Skyway Extension project is part of the 38-kilometer elevated Skyway System, which includes the newly-opened Skyway Stage 3, also fully-funded by SMC.

Did you enjoy the above news and details? I sure did. What San Miguel Corporation (in coordination with the national government) has been doing is already benefitting people of Metro Manila and those from both the north and south of the National Capital Region (NCR) who need to travel great distances efficiently and faster. The results will be even greater once the entire project has been completed and the benefits will be available not only to travelers and motorists today, but also for future generations of people. Check out the related Skyway video below.

That being said, SMC and the Skyway projects are great examples of capitalism making great improvements to the national infrastructure. It is clear that the private sector is essential as it has the technologies, the expertise and resources to improve the quality of life (apart from providing good paying jobs) here in the Philippines. Capitalism is essential and good, and socialism (and all its related Leftist garbage) sucks. For more insight about capitalism and socialism, watch these videos from John Stossel plus another video that debunks the Left’s propaganda that the poor got poorer.

In closing this piece, let me ask you what you do think about the latest developments about the Skyway project? If you actually traveled via the Skyway lately, how was your travel experience?

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Muntinlupa Molecular Lab to open next week, eyes processing of 100 COVID-19 tests per hour

In a bid to strengthen the local testing capacity and COVID-19 response efforts, the City Government of Muntinlupa announced it is set to open its own Molecular Laboratory in Ospital ng Muntinlupa (OsMun) which is expected to process one hundred tests per hour.

OsMun director Dr. Edwin Dimatatac reported to Mayor Jaime Fresnedi and Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade the status of the city’s Molecular Laboratory during a virtual meeting of the local COVID-19 Response Team last October 27.

Ospital ng Muntinlupa director Dr. Edwin Dimatatac (left) and Muntinlupa City Department of Disaster Resilience and Management chief Erwin Alfonso (center) inspect the Muntinlupa Molecular Laboratory located at SAGIP Building, near Ospital ng Muntinlupa, Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang. (source – Muntinlupa PIO)

Dimatatac said that the delivery of medical equipment is expected to be finished by the end of this month and the laboratory will be operational next week. He noted that the laboratory can process 100 tests per hour and results may be released as early as six (6) hours. The hospital director noted that they are in close coordination with DOH for the laboratory’s accreditation.

Further, personnel to be assigned in the city’s Molecular Laboratory were already trained by the DOH and Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). The laboratory is located at the Saklolo at Gabay ng Ina at Pamilya (SAGIP) building near Ospital ng Muntinlupa in Alabang.

DOTr Sec. Tugade vowed to assist Muntinlupa for the accreditation of the laboratory. Tugade noted that Deputy Chief Implementer against COVID-19 Sec. Vince Dizon committed to donate one RT-PCR machine to Muntinlupa’s Molecular Laboratory once the accreditation is approved by the DOH.

A look at part of the equipment in the Molecular Laboratory. (source – Muntinlupa PIO)

The additional equipment is set to double the laboratory’s capacity from 200 tests to 400 tests per day. Muntinlupa City aims to operate two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines at the laboratory which can process 500 to 900 samples a day.

Mayor Jaime Fresnedi says the construction of the Molecular Laboratory will augment the city’s detection-isolation-treatment strategy in curbing COVID-19. He noted that while the City Health Office records improvement with COVID-19 cases, the City Government will not be lenient in implementing health protocols and other programs.

A sharp drop of active cases was recorded in Muntinlupa from 768 cases in September 1 to 69 cases as of October 26. The city’s recovery rate has further improved to 95.25%, an all-time high since the start of the pandemic.

Muntinlupa City also earned the lowest prevalence among Metro Manila cities with a rate of 0.13. The city’s prevalence rate or the number of cases over the total population is below the ‘acceptable rate’ of 1.0.

As of October 26, the doubling time in Muntinlupa City is at 17.94 days. Doubling time refers to the number of days for COVID-19 cases to double in number and the standard rate of transmission should be at 7-30 days to be considered decelerating.

The City Health Office has also launched a mobile swabbing testing in coordination with barangay health centers. As of October 26, the local health office facilitated 19,307 swab tests equivalent to 3.57% of the city’s population. Muntinlupa surpassed the national target of testing two percent of the population.

Recently, the 144-bed quarantine facility “We Heal As One” COVID-19 patients and suspect cases was inaugurated in Pacwood Site, Barangay Tunasan through the efforts of the Department of Public Works and Highways in partnership with the City Government.

DPWH Secetary Mark Villar, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Mayor Jaime Fresnedi led the blessing ceremony of the emergency quarantine facility amounting to P45-million last October 13. During the program, Villar reported that an additional quarantine facility with 200-bed capacity will be constructed in the Filinvest Tent Parking Area.

Isolation Facility manager Dr. Juancho Bunyi said the We Heal As One Center in Tunasan is accommodating 22 COVID-19 cases (12 positive individuals and 10 probable cases) as of October 27. Occupants of the We Heal As One quarantine facility are given free medicine, food, and hygiene kits.

As of October 27, Muntinlupa City has 4,615 confirmed cases with 4,411 recoveries, 54 active cases, 150 reported deaths, 131 suspect cases, and 290 probable cases.

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Latest City Government of Muntinlupa details sourced from their official media release. Some parts were edited for this website.

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NOT to distorted views and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, engagements, commerce and updates, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

Skyway 3 project completed

It is all out in the news here in the Philippines and it is the best piece of infrastructure and travel-related news for travelers, business stakeholders and other concern parties specifically here in Metro Manila and the communities outside its boundaries – San Miguel Corporation (SMC)’s president and chief operation officer (COO) Ramon S. Ang announced the completion of the Skyway 3 project (AKA Skyway Stage 3) which is almost eighteen kilometers long. Right now, they are working on completing the finishing touches before formally opening it to the public.

Personally, I am happy for their achievement!

A great view of a portion of Skyway Stage 3. (source – Mark Villar Facebook page)

For the newcomers reading this, the Skyway 3 project is composed of a 17.93 kilometer stretch that links the norther and southern parts of Luzon by means of a modern highway. More specifically, once the newly completed project finally opens, travel from the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) will take only twenty minutes which will be a major improvement from the average of 2-3 hours (without Skyway 3). It should be noted that the project was completed way before the October 31, 2020 target of completion.

“I’m happy to announce that the whole structure of Skyway 3 is now complete. With this, Skyway 2 in Buendia is now officially extended all the way to the North Luzon Expressway. After many challenges, this project faced in previous years, the dream of connecting north and south and providing an alternative to Edsa is now a reality,” Ang said in a press statement released on October 13.

As mentioned earlier, I am happy for the completion of Skyway 3 and soon it will finally be opened to public motorists (who can afford to pay the eventual toll fees). Each year for the past several years, I travel from Alabang to Clark and Subic Bay to attend important events. During those times, it was a struggle to move from south to north and back WITHOUT Skyway 3. The traffic along EDSA (which passes through different Metro Manila cities and on the maze of roads within the City of Manila were often bad, time-consuming and unpredictable.

Another stretch of Skyway Stage 3 over water. (source – Mark Villar Facebook page)

With Skyway Stage 3, travel between SLEX and NLEX will be much faster. It is stated in the press statement that travel from Magallanes to Balintawak will only take about 15 minutes, Balintawak to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) also only 15 minutes, and Valenzuela to Makati in just 10 minutes. As for people from the cities of Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, Parañaque and even further south from Laguna province who need to travel to Subic Bay faster in the near future, imagine going north using the SLEX, then the Skyway (in the south) moving through the metropolis in quick fashion to reach the NLEX thanks to Skyway 3’s stretch and then take the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) to get to Subic Bay faster than ever before. Travelers from Cavite province will also benefit from the improved access and travel too since their province has highways that connect to the SLEX. Really, a lot of people, especially families business people who need to travel within Metro Manila and those who want to go further north or south will really benefit from the eventual operation of Skyway 3 not for just a year but in the years to come.

From this point on, watch out for SMC’s announcement of the formal opening of Skyway 3. Congratulations to SMC and their strategic partners for their accomplishment! Thank the Lord in Heaven also for making big dreams a reality!

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For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the FB group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: New 144-bed ‘We Heal As One’ quarantine facility opens in Muntinlupa City

A new “We Heal As One” quarantine facility for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients and suspect cases in Muntinlupa City was formally opened in Barangay Tunasan yesterday. The 144-bed quarantine facility has been constructed by the Department of Public Works and Highways in partnership with the local government of Muntinlupa.

DPWH Secetary Mark Villar, Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Mayor Jaime Fresnedi led the blessing ceremony of the emergency quarantine facility amounting to P45-million in Pacwood Site, Brgy. Tunasan.

(L-R) DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, Muntinlupa Mayor Jaime Fresnedi, and DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade inspected the newly constructed “We Heal As One” isolation facility in Pacwood Site, Brgy. Tunasan last October 13. DPWH and Muntinlupa LGU have converted 36 units of shipping containers as isolation rooms for positive COVID-19 patients, suspect and probable cases, and quarters of medical frontliners who will serve in the facility. Each room has a comfort room, air-conditioning unit, and bed supplies. Residents who will occupy the isolation rooms will receive a COVID-19 essentials bag consisting of a hygiene kit, vitamins, medicine, thermometer, bedsheet, pillow blanket, and towels, among others. (source – Muntinlupa PIO)

Fresnedi extended his gratitude to DPWH’s assistance for the construction of the additional isolation facility in the city which he notes as an augmentation in the local COVID-19 response efforts.

Also attending the ceremony were Office of Civil Defense Asec Hernando Caraig Jr., City Administrator Allan Cachuela, City Health Officer Dra. Teresa Tuliao, and CHO Isolation Facility Administrator Dr. Juancho Bunyi.

DPWH and Muntinlupa LGU have converted 36 units of shipping containers as isolation pods for positive COVID-19 patients, suspect and probable cases, and quarters of medical frontliners who will serve in the facility.

Each room has a comfort room, air-conditioning unit, and bed supplies. A wi-fi connection will also be installed in the facility. Residents who will occupy the isolation rooms will receive a COVID-19 essentials bag consisting of a hygiene kit, vitamins, medicine, thermometer, bedsheet, pillow blanket, and towels, among others.

The units.
Inside a unit.
A toiled and sink.

The City Government of Muntinlupa is implementing a mandatory self-isolation policy, or admission to city isolation facilities if requirements for home quarantine are not met as certified by the City Health Office (CHO), for anyone who have undergone COVID-19 swab testing.

The stringent measure aims to restrict movement of suspect cases and prevent possible carriers of the virus to travel and infect other individuals.

During the program, Public Works Sec. Villar reported that an additional quarantine facility with 200-bed capacity will be constructed in the Filinvest Tent Parking Area.

Transportation Sec. Tugade lauded the City Government’s hard work in executing surveillance, isolation, and treatment protocols, and its efforts towards the fight against COVID-19.

Further, he said that the city’s request for the opening of Susana Heights – MCX Access Road has been approved by the DPWH and DOTr and is expected to be accessible by December.

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Latest City Government of Muntinlupa details sourced from their official media release. Some parts were edited for this website.

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake newsNO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiaristsNOT to distorted views and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, engagements, commerce and updates, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: DPWH to Set Up Las Piñas Isolation Facility

Recently the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) announced that it will set up in with Las Piñas City a healthcare facility for COVID-19 patients. Already the DPWH headed by Secretary Mark Villar entered into memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Las Piñas City Mayor Imelda T. Aguilar.

Specifically, the MOA for the construction of 96-bed isolation facility was signed during the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Pandemic or CODE Team caravan in Las Piñas City spearheaded by Secretary Villar as the deputized Cabinet member assisting the City Government with the challenges in dealing with the health crisis.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar. (source – DPWH Facebook page)
Las Piñas City Government officials led by Mayor Imelda Aguilar (seated, wearing black) with DPWH Secretary Viillar seated next to her. (source – DPWH Facebook page)

Secretary Villar has instructed Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain, head of DPWH Task Force to Facilitate Augmentation of National and Local Health Facilities, to fast track the construction of offsite isolation facility at Almanza so that those COVID patients and close contacts traced can quarantine or isolate when in doubt in the quarantine facility to prevent the further spread of infection.

In accordance with the national government’s strategy to intensify response measures, Undersecretary Sadain reported at the CODE Team Caravan that the DPWH Task Force will work towards completing the offsite isolation facility at Almanza by the end of September.

The DPWH Task Force has been supporting the national and local governments efforts against COVID 19 by spearheading the conversion of available spaces into makeshift hospital with bed cubicles and the setting up of modular healthcare facility nationwide.

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Latest Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) details sourced from their official media release. Some parts were edited for this website.

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, no distorted views and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments.

Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAEX) 27-Kilometer Segment Construction Has Begun!

As a resident living in South Metro Manila, I always prefer to see the entire Philippines’ infrastructure get developed and expanded tremendously because the benefits of improved travel time and experience will be felt by the riding public for the long term. At the same time, such improvements will help travelers reach the far-away destinations with better speed and in less time.

Today I learned about some good news – the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAEX) has started construction beginning with a 27-kilometer section. A groundbreaking ceremony was held at Alapan II-B Village in Cavite Province on March 27. The CALAEX itself has a grand total distance of 45 kilometers.

As announced on the Philippine News Agency (PNA) website, the P12-billion Cavite segment will ensure a safe, efficient and seamless travel for motorists from the history town of Kawit in Cavite to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) – Mamplasan Interchange. It is expected to cut travel time from 2.5 hours to less than 45 minutes and help decongest approximately fifty thousand cars.

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar declared that  the project is part of the President Rodrigo Duterte administration’s masterplan to connect Luzon from north to south, to be called the “Luzon Spine Expressway Network” (LSEN), to increase the current 300-km. high-speed expressway to 1,000 km. by the year 2022. Duterte’s term of office will end in that year.

“We will deliver not just on our promise to solve traffic, but to bring development to our provinces,” Villar announced.

More on speed, the expressways are not only expected to cut travel time for motorists but help add to the development of the provinces of Cavite and Laguna.  Cavite is now the biggest in terms of population among the country’s provinces, with an estimated 4.1 million people according to 2016 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

In terms of cooperation, Cavite Governor Jesus Crispin Remulla said this “speaks volumes about the dynamism of the government and its private partner.” He said the expressway will connect Laguna and Cavite, and declog the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

Meanwhile the Laguna segment of the CALAEX project is now in full swing which, according to Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) president and Chief Executive Officer, Rodrigo Franco, is expected to open the first section during the third quarter or as early as July this year.

When it comes to economic development by means of job creation, the CALAEX will employ some 1,200 personnel for its Laguna segment and close to 1,300 more for site and office personnel as its Cavite segment progresses. It is part of the network of toll roads that the MPTC is constructing and developing, which will connect to Cavitex and the C5-South Link and will make transfers from Laguna, Cavite, Las Piñas, Parañaque, and CP Garcia Ave. seamless.

The CALAEX is one of many projects being done under the highly ambitious Build Build Build program of the Duterte administration. Build Build Build lists down high impact projects that are envisioned to improve the economy, increase incomes, invite investments leading to job creation. In his 10-point Socioeconomic Agenda, President Duterte envisioned the reduction of poverty from 21.6% in 2015 to 13% to 15% in 2022. It was emphasized that the acceleration of infrastructure development will pave the way for a more comfortable life, better travel and improved economic development nationwide.