President launches P26.59-B Metro Skyway project
Manila, Philippines – President Benigno S. Aquino III yesterday hit back at critics – including, indirectly, Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. – as he led the launching of the P26.59-billion Metro Manila Skyway (MMS) Stage 3, which will connect the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and the North Luzon Expressways (NLEX).
“Para sa mga paulit-ulit na nagtatanong, at sinasadyang magbulag-bulagan sa mga nararating na nating tagumpay, ito ang daang matuwid (For those who have repeatedly been asking and who have been keeping a blind eye to our successes, this is the straight path],” Aquino said.
“Hindi pinanday ng pantasya, at mas lalong hindi gawa-gawa na parang eksena sa isang pelikula – totoo at kongkretong mga proyekto ang hatid ng ating tuwid at mabuting pamamahala para sa kapakanan ngsambayanang Pilipino (This was not created out of fantasy, much less a scene from a movie – these are concrete projects through our straight and good governance for the benefit of our people),” he said.
Aquino was indirectly referring to Senator Revilla, who is known in Philippine movies as the “Panday” – blacksmith. Revilla, in a privilege speech earlier this week, had accused President Aquino and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas of meddling in the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012.
“Anumang pilit ng ilang magpapogi at magpabida para sa pansariling interes lang, ay wala pa ring makakapigil sa kolektibo natingpag-arangkada bilang isang bayan (However, some critics try to use their charm to look heroic for their own interest, it will not hamper our collective efforts towards development as a country),” Aquino said.
President Aquino said the Skyway Stage 3 project will ease the burden of the riding public going from north to south of Metro Manila and vice versa.
“Kapag nabuksan na po itong MMS 3, papatak na lang sa 15 hanggang 20 minuto ang biyaheng iyan (When the MMS 3 opens, travel time will only be between 15 to 20 minutes),” Aquino said, noting that currently, heavy traffic results in two hours of travel time from Buendia to Balintawak.
“Ang good news pa: Makakapaghatid ang proyektong ito ng halos 6,000 na direktang trabaho, at karagdagang 10,000 hanggang 12,000 na indirect jobs sa panahon ng konstruksyon (The other good news is that this project will provide 6,000 direct jobs and an additional 10,000 to 12,000 indirect jobs at the time of its construction),” he added.
President Aquino asked the public for patience and understanding as the construction of the Skyway Stage 3 draws near.
“Mahalaga po ang pakikiisa ng lahat sa anumang adjustment na ating gagawin para mabigyang-daan ang konstruksyon nito. Hinihiling ko rin ang suporta’t kooperasyon ng LGUs dito, partikular na sa isyu ng right of way (The cooperation of everyone is important in whatever adjustment we need to make for this project’s construction. I am also asking for the support and cooperation of local governments, particularly on the issue of right of way),” he said.
Construction of the Skyway Stage 3 project will begin in April this year and is expected to be completed by 2017.
An accelerated construction program has, however, been proposed that would complete the project before the end of President Aquino’s term in 2016.
A 14.82-kilometer elevated expressway, the Skyway Stage 3 project will stretch from Buendia, Makati City, to Balintawak, Quezon City. The project is expected to decongest traffic in Metro Manila, especially C4 (EDSA), C5 (C.P. Garcia), and Central Metro Manila.
It will connect to Skyway Stage 1 at Buendia, run along Osmeña Highway, Quirino Ave., towards Plaza Dilao, cross Pasig River, then cut to the back of SM Sta. Mesa, on to G. Araneta Ave., cross Aurora Blvd., to E. Rodriguez, and Quezon Ave. towards Sgt. E. Rivera, then along A. Bonifacio towards Balintawak.
Ramon Ang, president of San Miguel Corporation, said the project has a proposed accelerated program that will fast-track the completion of MMS Stage 3 in under 24 months or by 2016. Initial construction is to begin in April this year.
SMC teamed up with Indonesia firm Citra Lamtoro Gung Persada and was awarded the contract for the MMS Stage 3 Project last year. It has an estimated cost of P26.5 billion.
Under the original plan, the segments from Buendia to Plaza Dilao and from Aurora Boulevard to Quezon Avenue were expected to be finished by April, 2016. The Quezon Avenue-Balintawak segment was to be completed in December. 2016. The Plaza Dilao-Aurora Boulevard segment would be completed in April, 2017.
Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emillio Abaya said the accelerated program calls for the completion of the project before President Aquino steps down from office in 2016. (With a report from Carlo S. Suerte Felipe)