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NLEX Continues Road Projects
by Philippine Resources - January 09, 2021
NLEX Corporation continues to build its major road projects. Among these include the Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX) Capacity Expansion (which is already 92% complete and is slated to be finished during the first quarter of 2021), Candaba Viaduct Upgrade and NLEX Connector.
Once the SFEX is completed, it will complement the infrastructure program of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), embracing the growing traffic and the delivery of goods coming in and going out of the zone. Some of the features of this 8.2-km ex[pressway include an extra two expressway lanes, two bridges and a new tunnel that increases the capacity from one lane to two lanes in each direction. This also includes installing the expressway-standard LED lighting sale for night driving and for better flood management, increasing the elevation of the Maritan Highway-Rizal Highway-Tipo Road junction.
According to NLEX Corporation President and General Manager J. Luigi L. Bautista, “These will improve traffic flow and connectivity, as well as promote road safety for hundreds of thousands of motorists in Central and Northern Luzon.”
Aside from the SFEX, NLEX also resumes upgrades on the 5-km Candaba Viaduct for the comfort and safety of all commuters. At the end of 2020, NLEX changed 13 link slabs on the southbound portion of the Candaba Viaduct, and to strengthen the bridge, around 12 more link slabs on the southbound segment have to be changed.
The tollway firm is also positive that Section 1 of the NLEX Connector Project that links NLEX to Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 should be finished during the last quarter of the year. According to NLEX, this project is already 16% complete. When done, this road reduces travel time from 2 hours to 20 minutes, along NLEX to SLEX and vice-versa, cuts travel time from Pampanga to Laguna from 3 hours to 1 hour and 40 minutes. This also improves the connectivity between the Clark International Airport and the NAIA. When finished, this will benefit at least 35,000 vehicles a day.
“These three major road projects are essential to the country’s economic growth,” Bautista added. “They add to the commercial development of several cities, in line with our country’s ambition, and NLEX’s vision toward nation-building.”
Philippine Resources - February 01, 2021
Infrastructure Spending Down In 2020
Spending on infrastructure went down in 2020.According to the data provided by Budget Assistant Secretary Rolando U. Toledo, infrastructure expenses were at P681-billion, 22.7% lower as compared with the previous year.State spending on these projects reached P276.1 billion and that infrastructure spending surpassed P225.5 billion. Toledo said that data included the total spending of the government on infrastructure, including the infrastructure components of transfers to local government units and subsidies or equities to government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs).The realignment of funds last year because of the pandemic caused the government to slash the infrastructure funds. For this year, the budget is expected to reach P1.2 trillion or equal to 5.9% of GDP. “With a multiplier of 2.27, meaning every peso spent creates another P1.27, some 1.7 million jobs can be created to accelerate the recovery. Timely implementation of infrastructure projects will have the biggest impact on our recovery prospects,” said Chua.Emilio S. Neri, Jr., the lead economist at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), said that the underspending of the government may pose a downside risk to the 2021 rebound. “With businesses still struggling, the lack of fiscal support and public construction may stall the recovery and dampen the demand for capital goods,” Neri said.Oxford Economics said that quarantine restrictions should then be relaxed to allow infrastructure projects to continue.
Philippine Resources - February 10, 2021
DPWH and ADB Sign Agreement on Loan Application for Three Bridges in Marikina City
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) for the loan application of the construction of three bridges in Marikina City. Estimated to cost more than P9 billion in total, two of the bridges will be located in Marikina City: the J.P. Rizal–Lopez Jaena Bridge and the Marcos Highway–St. Mary Bridge (formerly J.P. Rizal–St. Mary Bridge). Meanwhile, the third will link Marikina City with Quezon City: Kabayani–Katipunan Avenue Extension Bridge (Marikina–Vista Real Bridge. With a length of 687 metres with a 460-metre main bridge, the J.P. Rizal–Lopez Jaena Bridge will cost P1.61 billion. While the Marcos Highway–St. Mary Bridge spanning 1,477 metres with a 330-metre main bridge will cost P5,74 billion, the Kabayani–Katipunan Avenue Extension Bridge will be priced at P1.81 billion. The latter has a total length of 940 metres with a 485-metre main bridge. According to the DPWH, the Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Bridge Management Cluster and consulting firm Dasan JV are now working on the engineering designs of these bridges. DPWH also remarked that the local government units are fully supportive of these initiatives.
Philippine Resources - February 26, 2021
New Cebu Port Civil Works to Start Q2 2021
The civil works of the new Cebu international container port will start during the second half of 2021.This was revealed during the online 160th Maritime Forum of the Maritime League, Engr. Romel Pagarom, acting manager of CPA’s Planning and Monitoring Division, said that the groundbreaking of the NCICP is scheduled for August 16.The cost of the project is $118 million (roughly P5.9 billion) with around 35 months or approximately 3 years to build it, he said. But of course, there have been a few delays to the project. The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in 2016 gave CPA, with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) as its lead implementing agency, the clearance to pursue the project. The construction of the project was supposed to start in 2018 but was pushed back to November 2020. Pagarom also added that they face several issues before proceeding with the civil works - Road-Right-Of-Way (RROW) acquisition which will connect the international port to the main road in Barangay Tayud (the MOA has already been drafted), and the need to work on the working visa of the South Korean consultants. Around P132 million is expected to be downloaded to Consolacion’s coffers if the agreement’s implementation would finally push through.“MOA was forwarded by Legal Service to the Office of the Secretary on January 20, 2021, for Sec. (Arthur) Tugade’s approval prior transfer of funds to the LGU of Consolacion. Thus, the PMU (Project Management Unit) will closely monitor the approval of the MOA and preparation of request for fund transfer of P132 million to LGU Consolacion,” said Pagarom.For the working visa of the consultants, project proponents will be sending out a reiteration letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). Last January 20, 2020, DOTr issued the notice of award for the US$5.4-million consultancy services for the NCICP project to South Korea-based Yooshin Engineering Corporation.Some of the features of this new facility include a berthing facility with a 500-meter long quay wall that can host two 2,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) vessels at the same time; operating facilities and structures for containers; a bridge and an access road; and a dredged waterway and turning basin.This will soon serve international cargoes and the current CIP will be transformed into a domestic port to address the decongestion problems.
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Philippine Resources - May 07, 2021
DPWH says BGC-Ortigas Bridge to Open in June
The Bonifacio Global City (BGC)-Ortigas Bridge will open on June 12, said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). “Our target opening is on June 12, Independence Day. Motorists will be able to use the bridge next month,” DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said in a video posted on Facebook during his inspection of the project on Thursday. The bridge would connect the business districts of BGC and Ortigas, cutting travel time from an hour to just 12 minutes. He also said that the bridge is now 81% complete. "The entrance of the bridge is at Kalayaan (Avenue) and the exit is at Fairlane in Ortigas," he added. It will be able to accommodate about 50,000 cars a day when it is finished. “Next month on Independence Day, watch out for the delivery, the opening of the BGC-Ortigas Pasig Bridge,” Villar said. The government's PHP1.793 billion development programme is part of a plan to decongest Epifanio de Los Santos Avenue (EDSA).
Philippine Resources - May 07, 2021
DENR Applauds Women's Contributions to PH Mining
Women have made a major contribution to the growth and advancement of the country's mining industry, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, with more women leaders advancing to top-level roles. “We need the active participation of women in policy formulation and program development not only to advance their rights in terms of decision-making and leadership but to empower them to address environmental challenges and climate change,” Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said. According to Nonita Caguioa, DENR Assistant Secretary for Finance, Information Systems, and Mining Concerns, more women are now working in the mining industry, as shown by the increase in female workers in mining firms and at the DENR's Mines and Geosciences Bureau. “We have different mining companies in the nickel industry who already have women, senior officials. Not only in nickel mining, but we can also see now plenty of women in the mining industry in general,” she said. “There are even those who have just finished college in geology, metallurgy or mining engineering, some of whom are already employed with some of the mining companies or the government service,” Caguioa added. With more women working in the mining industry, she cited laws like Republic Act 9710, or the Magna Carta of Women of 2009, RA 7877, or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995, and RA 7192, or the Women in Development and Nation Building Act of 1992, that promote and protect their rights. According to Caguioa, the DENR has non-discrimination clauses in mining licenses and arrangements to “respect the right of women workers to engage in policy and decision-making procedures that concern their interests and benefits.” Caguioa earned a mining engineering degree from the Cebu Institute of Technology before entering the DENR.
Philippine Resources - May 07, 2021
Semirara Mining Expects Profit Recovery This Year
Semirara Mining and Power Corp. (SMPC), a publicly traded integrated energy firm, expect some profit recovery this year, owing to improved coal and power demand and costs. SMPC chairman and CEO Isidro Consunji said at the company's virtual stockholders' meeting that the company's bottom line will boost as the coal and energy markets rebound from last year's historic lows. “To take advantage of the upswing, we will capitalize on our COVID-19 resiliency and adaptation strategy of focusing on our people, finances, and execution skills. However, given our operational headwinds and until our country reaches herd immunity, it is unlikely that we will return to our pre-pandemic profit level this year,” he said. The business ended in 2020 with a combined net income of P3.3 billion, down 66% from P9.6 billion the previous year. Revenues dropped 36.2 per cent to P23.3 billion as coal production, sales, and prices fell, while energy sales fell due to low power rates and Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp's (SLPGC) expected and unplanned outages. The coal division of SMPC and the SLPGC plants will be the key drivers of development this year. With remedial steps introduced in Molave North Block 7 (NB7), the coal industry is expected to reach 13 million metric tons, according to SMPC president and COO Maria Cristina Gotianun. “This year, we expect our coal business to perform better on the back of recovering consumption and prices. The remedial measures we have been implementing since December have also allowed us to steadily normalize production. Now that the water seepage at NB7 has gone down to manageable levels, we expect annual production to hit 13 million metric tons,” she said. Due to excessive water seepages, SMPC postponed mining operations in Molave NB7 in early December, reducing coal output by 13% to 13.2 million metric tons. SLPGC is expected to drive profits in SMPC's power market due to higher sales, but Sem-Calaca Power Corp. (SCPC) is expected to produce poor performance. SCPC is the owner of the Calaca coal-fired power plant in Batangas, which it bought from the government in 2009 for $362 million. In the same location, SLPGC operates a 2x150-MW coal power plant. “For this year, we expect uneven results from our power subsidiaries. SLPGC is set to stage a strong profit recovery because of higher plant availability and better spot market prices. Unfortunately, SCPC is likely to deliver disappointing results because of the forced outage of its Unit 2 beginning Dec. 3 last year,” Gotianun said. SCPC's outage was triggered by a seven-month-old generator stator failing. Repairs are currently being negotiated with generator provider GE, according to Gotianun. “While they have agreed to cover the majority of the costs related to fixing the equipment, we are intent on making them shoulder all the necessary expenses. We expect to complete our negotiations within the year,” she said. “In the meantime, we are doing our best to fast track the repair of the generator. If all goes well, Unit 2 can be up and running by the third quarter of this year,” Gotianun said. This year, SMPC will invest P4 billion to rebound from last year's slump. The overall sum will be divided between SCPC and SLPGC for their prevention and repair services, with P2.9 billion going to buy mining and service equipment for the coal industry. Since the COVID-19 pandemic placed a burden on the company's liquidity last year, the management agreed to delay P3.7 billion of CAPEX to this year as part of its cash saving steps.