DPWH, BBB AGENCIES HOLD FIRST FORUM ON INFRASTRUCTURE FLAGSHIP PROJECTS
by Philippine Resources - December 17, 2021
Photo credit: Department of Public Works and Highways
Government agencies under the Build Build Build (BBB) program commit to push forward the implementation of high-impact infrastructure flagship projects (IFPs) that will bring long-term benefits to the Filipino people.
Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Acting Secretary Roger "Oging" Mercado, in his message during the 1st BBB Inter Agency Forum organized by Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain, expressed confidence towards sustainability and continuity of priority flagship projects which will be the foundation of economic recovery from COVID-19 pandemic.
As the designated Chief Implementer of Flagship Projects under BBB Program by President Rodrigo Duterte, Undersecretary Sadain spearheaded the review on the progress of various IFPs in order to ensure the expeditious execution and timely completion of flagship projects implemented by the Department of Transportation, Department of Health, National Irrigation Administration, Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System, Local Water Utilities Administration, Department of the Interior and Local Govt., Department of Information Communication Technology, Toll Regulatory Board, and Philippine Statistics Authority.
As we gear up for a better approach in sustaining the implementation of infrastructure flagship projects, we seek to identify and address implementation and capacity gaps particularly in challenging environments as these holds the key to realizing the great vision of President Duterte for the BBB Program, said Undersecretary Sadain.
In order to establish proper coordination and practical collaboration among agencies, the forum held on December 14-15, 2021 was also participated by Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Undersecretary Rolando U. Toledo; National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Assistant Secretary Roderick M. Planta with his staff; DPWH Undersecretary Emerson L. Benitez; and DPWH Project Directors Benjamin A. Bautista, Sharif Masdmo H. Hasim, Rodrigo Delos Reyes, Ramon P. Arriola III and Johnson Domingo.
The forum was a significant step for the designated BBB Chief Implementer to come up with a comprehensive report of the accomplishments for IFPs under BBB as well as the scale-up plans on infrastructure development for the remainder of the term of President Duterte and forward looking in 2022 to the upcoming change of administration.
The event is also a very fitting opportunity for every agency to share its best practices and implementation journey, key issues/concerns and challenges, and provide plans and resolutions that can be applied to pipeline projects.
Other than the COVID-19 pandemic and adverse weather condition as among the drawbacks in project implementation, other bumps identified/mentioned/discussed at the forum include regulatory environment issues, delayed procurement, difficulty in acquiring right of way, insufficient funds, and delayed financing approval.
Article courtesy of Department of Public Works and Highways
Marcelle P. Villegas - December 16, 2020
Test runs at max speed and other development for MRT-3
By Marcelle P. Villegas The newly overhauled MRT-3 train was tested by running it at a maximum speed of 50 kph. Here is a view from the driver’s compartment on MRT-3 during test run last 29 October 2020. (Screenshot from Department of Transportation video) MRT-3 or the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 conducted test runs on its first newly overhauled train. The train was tested to run at a maximum speed of 50 kph. According to Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran, the train is composed of three cars which was overhauled by Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The company is the maintenance provider of MRT-3. The test run was documented in a video blog of DOTr. Libiran said, “As part of the massive rehab and maintenance of Sumitomo from Japan, we can now overhaul train cars that have been long neglected and now, we are repairing them under the Duterte administration.” According to MRT-3 Director for Operations Michael Capati, aside from the three newly overhauled train cars, the MRT-3 also plans to overhaul the remaining 72 cars by July 2021. “In the past years, our trains broke down plenty of times. Now, one of the things Sumitomo is doing is to rehabilitate and do a general overhaul of our trains.” Capati mentioned that the MRT-3 management wants its trains to run at 50 kph by November 2020.  He said, “We have already increased our train operating speed to 30 kph to 40 kph in October. Now we are using this train to simulate a 50 kph operating speed, which we are hoping to implement by November.” Capati noted that the improved train speed was made possible by the overhaul of train cars and the rail replacements that were completed last September. He also said that MRT-3 increased the number of its trains running daily to a maximum of 22. “Our maintenance program is doing well and at the same time, this is the effect of our rail replacements.” MRT-3 tested the train operating speed at 40 kph last September. This reduces the average waiting time of passengers from nine minutes to seven minutes. Reference:  Dela Cruz, Raymond Carl (29 October 2020). Philippine News Agency. “MRT-3 conducts test runs on overhauled train at 50 kph”. Article and photo credit retrieved from - https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1120153
Marcelle P. Villegas - December 14, 2020
Right-of-way ordinance for Makati Intra-City Subway project
By Marcelle P. Villegas Last 21 October 2020, Makati City government passed and approved an ordinance authorizing the acquisition of right of way covering the underground portions of nine roads that are affected by Makati City government’s subway project. As per Ordinance No. 2020-204, the roads that will be affected by the project are: Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, South Avenue, J.P. Rizal Avenue, J.P. Rizal Extension, Pablo Ocampo St. Extension (Vito Cruz Extension), Kalayaan Avenue, EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue), C-5 Road (a.k.a. Carlos P. Garcia Avenue), and San Guillermo Avenue. The city ordinance mentions of subsurface right of way need to be acquired for the “staging, construction, operation, maintenance and development of the Makati Subway Project.” The nine roads mentioned above are in the road and bridge inventory of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). Therefore, they fall under the jurisdiction of the department. “Considering the importance of acquiring the easement of the right of way of the subject roads for the benefit of the citizens of Makati, the City Government of Makati is constrained to acquire, through voluntary agreement or expropriation proceedings, an easement of right of way of the subject roads.”  Section 19 of the Republic Act No. 7160 or Local Government Code of 1991 stated the authorizing of expropriations if needed. The City of Makati has entered into negotiations with and made a “valid and definite offer” to the DPWH for the acquisition of right of way. Philippine Infradev is building a subway that is worth $3.5 billion that shall traverse the central business district of Makati City. There will be 10 stations across the 10-kilometer line. Last September, Philippine Infradev signed a $1.21-billion contract that covers engineering, procurement and construction with China Construction Second Engineering Bureau Co. Ltd. For the subway project. The subway project is expected to accommodate 700,000 passengers daily in order to reduce the traffic congestion in the city. They are targeting the subway’s completion in 2025.  About the Makati Subway Project The Makati Intra-city Subway is a planned underground rapid transit line in the City of Makati that spans out to 11 kilometers or 6.8 miles. This is designed to link establishments across Makati’s business district. The project is a partnership between the Makati City Government and a private consortium led by Philippine Infradev Holdings. The subway line’s stations will be connecting the existing Line 3 (Guadalupe Station), the Pasig River Ferry Service, and the approved Line 9 (Metro Manila Subway). It was on 12 December 2018 when the preparatory work was commenced. On the same day, ceremonial drilling took place in front of the Makati City Hall. The Makati City Hall is near the site of one of the proposed stations of the subway. On this day, the signing of the memorandum of understanding also took place. The memorandum was signed by Makati City Government and a consortium consisting of Philippine Infradev and Chinese firms Greenland Holdings Group, Jiangsu Provincial Construction Group Company Ltd., Holdings Ltd. and China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd. Soil testing and feasibility studies of the proposed locations for the subway line’s stations were done as part of the preparatory work. By June 2019, 8 out of the 10 proposed stations have been finalized. The two proposed stations along Ayala Avenue are yet to be finalized due to “non-response” from its owners. The proponents said that they may divert the subway towards PNR Buendia Station or the Mile Long property in Legaspi Village instead. For now, the first station will be located at the Makati Central Fire Station. The fire station will be demolished. From there, the line goes towards a Lucia Tan owned property near Circuit Makati and Makati City Hall. The remaining stations will be located near Rockwell Center, Makati Bliss Housing in Guadalupe, Century City, University of Makati, Cembo and the final station will be near Ospital ng Makati. In July 2019, soil testing related with the subway project was completed. Philippine Infradev and the Makati City Government signed a joint venture agreement for the subway project. By October 2019, the plan to move the terminus of the line to the Mile Long property has been finalized. The area is being redeveloped by the national government along Amorsolo Street. The soil test results were favourable and the route diversion meant that the cost of the project might be reduced to as low as $2.5 billion. Moreover, a joint venture with Megaworld Corp. was made to build a common station in Guadalupe for the subway system and for the planned SkyTrain. Based on a disclosure to the stock exchange, the Philippine Infradev’s subsidiary, Makati City Subway Inc. (MCSI) received the term sheet from Megaworld Corp. This joint venture will build access to the Line 3 Guadalupe Station and the Pasig River Ferry. Philippine Infradev has an agreement with China Construction First Group Corp. Ltd. (CCFG) to build a transit-oriented development. Based on this agreement, CCFG is responsible for the construction, materials, manpower, equipment and other requirements to complete the project. The construction is expected to last for 42 months.  References:  Balinbin, Arjay L (25 October 2020). Business World. “Makati passes right-of-way ordinance for subway project”. Retrieved from - https://www.bworldonline.com/makati-passes-right-of-way-ordinance-for-subway-project/  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makati_Intra-city_Subway (Photo credit: IRC Properties Inc.)
Marcelle P. Villegas - January 12, 2021
Dept. of Energy: Moratorium on New Coal Power Plants
By Marcelle P. Villegas A moratorium on the endorsements of greenfield coal power plants was issued by the Department of Energy (DoE). This announcement was made while allowing foreign investors to now have full ownership of geothermal plant projects in the Philippines. DoE’s decision to stop the endorsements of coal power plants is the result of an assessment that showed the importance of focusing on a “more flexible” power supply mix. According to Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi while at a virtual conference with world leaders held in Singapore, “This would help build a more sustainable power system that will be resilient in the face of structural changes in demand and will be flexible enough to accommodate the entry of new, cleaner and indigenous technological innovations.” DoE is currently updating their Philippine Energy Plan for the next 20 years. Mr Cusi mentioned that DoE is committed to accelerating the development of the Philippines’ resources while “pushing for the transition from fossil fuel-based technology utilization to cleaner energy sources to ensure more sustainable growth for the country.”  According to Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella of DoE, the ban on endorsing new coal-fired power plants will not affect those power plants that have received endorsements in the past. He said, “We need to prepare for the influx of RE (renewable energy) under the recent policies issued by the DoE. Hence, the need for more flexibility.”  On note, 3,436 MV of committed coal-fired power projects in Luzon are ongoing as of August 2020. This includes the Meralco Powergen Corporation and GNPower Dinginin Ltd. Co. which is a joing venture of the Ayala and Aboitiz groups. Additionally, a 135 MW coal-run power projects in Visayas and 420 MV in Mindanao have been endorsed by DoE. Overall, there are around 10,000 MV indicative coal-fired power plant projects in the Philippines which may receive government endorsements. Mr Fuentebella said these will need to be sorted out. The ban will continue until the country will require additional baseload power, according to DoE official.  In relation to the ban, Center of Energy, Ecology and Development (CEED) pointed out that there are still environmental concerns about the existing coal-run power plants in the Philippines. CEED Director Gerard C. Arances said, “That is still concerning and alarming vis-à-vis pollution, climate imperative, and costly electricity in the country.” Another important announcement made by DoE is the upcoming open bidding round of renewable energy service contracts that will now allow foreign companies to own large-scale geothermal projects. This includes exploration, development and utilization. Last 20 October 2020, DoE released a circular providing the guidelines for the third Open and Competitive Selection Process (OCSP3) in the awarding of renewable project contracts. Cusi said, “From an investment perspective, OCSP3 allows for 100% foreign ownership in large-scale geothermal exploration, development and utilization projects.” DoE clarified that big geothermal projects are those with an initial investment cost of about $50 million and are under Financial and Technical Assistance Agreements, signed and approved by the Philippine President. Reference:  Ang, Adam J. (27 October 2020). Business World. “DoE bans new coal-run power plants”. Retrieved from - https://www.bworldonline.com/doe-bans-new-coal-run-power-plants/
Marcelle P. Villegas - January 22, 2022
Senator De Lima passed a resolution against lifting of open-pit mining ban
Before the year ended, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu signed the Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2021-40 that lifts the ban on open-pit mining. The order was passed last 23rd of December 2021. This covers mining for copper, gold, silver and other complex ores. DENR made this decision with hopes to revive the mining industry so it may once again provide job opportunities in rural areas. This decision was a response to counter the economic downturn that resulted from the global pandemic.
Philippine Resources - January 21, 2022
WIDENING OF LAWTON AVENUE IN TAGUIG CITY FINISHED BY Q2 OF 2022
Photo credit: Department of Public Works and Highways The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has fast-tracked the widening works at Fort Bonifacio-Nichols Field Road or Lawton Avenue in Taguig City to meet its target completion by the second quarter of 2022. “As the government increases mobility in Metro Manila amid the pandemic, this project is vital in addressing traffic woes experienced by motorists,” said DPWH Secretary Roger G. Mercado during project inspection on Thursday, January 20, 2022, along with Senior Undersecretary Rafael C. Yabut, Assistant Secretary Wilfredo S. Mallari and National Capital Region (NCR) Director Nomer Abel P. Canlas. The road widening has three phases with the 1.34-meter Phase 1 traversing from 5th Avenue to Bayani Road completed and opened to the public on November 17, 2020. “We are keen in expediting the completion of the remaining two phases of the project with Phase 2 covering 1,100 lineal meters from Bayani Road to Philippine Navy and Phase 3 covering 240 lineal meters from Philippine Navy to Pasong Tamo Extension,” said Secretary Mercado. Once fully completed, the 3.1-kilometer, four (4)-lane Lawton Avenue will be converted into a six (6)-lane thoroughfare that can accommodate influx of vehicles traversing the area and will help decongest traffic in nearby Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA), South Superhighway and C-5 Road. It will also complement the 961.427-lineal meter Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas Center Link Road Project which has improved access to and from the cities of Taguig, Pasig, Makati and Mandaluyong. The widening of the Lawton Avenue is part of the EDSA Decongestion Program, one of the flagship projects of the Duterte administration under the Build Build Build Program.
Philippine Resources - January 19, 2022
Vulco® R67 mill lining rubber compound is revolutionising mine site mill operations
Photo: Inside the discharge end of a ball mill being fitted with spiral lifters and rubber grates. Vulco® R67 mill liners last significantly longer and deliver a measurable reduction in mill downtime, installation and maintenance costs. Vulco® rubber is renowned throughout the mining industry for its exceptional wear life and reliability in mill lining systems. These abrasion- and impact-resistant rubber compounds have been developed with advanced technologies by the Weir Minerals’ team of expert engineers and material scientists who are continually refining Vulco® rubber products to keep them at the forefront of mill lining systems technology. Having identified a need for higher-wearing rubbers for mill lining systems, the material science experts commenced developing an industry leading, premium-grade rubber compound with superior wear life and performance in mill lining applications. The result was the Vulco® R67 rubber – an optimum material which is manufactured with proprietary new compounds and innovative methods of processing to deliver outstanding wear life and longer uptime. Extensive field research, compound testing and site trials were conducted to ensure that it was not only able to withstand severe abrasion in typical mill system applications, but that it is best in class. In fact, it has been the most wear-resistant rubber compound that Weir Minerals has ever developed for mill lining applications. The R67 compound boasts a high hardness, elongation, tensile and tear strength, and is suitable for lifter bars, head/shell plates and grates. When it’s utilised in conjunction with metal cap mill liners, the result is a versatile, economical and efficient product that weighs up to 50% less than steel alone. The added benefit is a lighter product that’s faster, easier and safer to install. Revolutionising wear lining Since its launch in 2018, many mining operators from around the globe have implemented the R67 compound into their mill lining systems. They have reported as much as 20-40% improvement in wear life, which is resulting in fewer mill lining replacements and longer mill campaigns. This reduction in shutdowns has a dual benefit of increased cost savings and improved plant availability. What are the benefits for the mill operators? With a liner that can run significantly longer, operators have experienced a wide range of benefits including: Improved wear life A measurable reduction in mill downtime Increased uptime and processing Easier and safer installations Reduced maintenance costs In addition to this, the mines benefit from having an experienced and dedicated team from Weir Minerals who custom-engineer the liners to suit each mill’s unique requirements for optimal wear life. 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At the end of the trial the R67 showed 30-40% better performance than the incumbent liners and the customer installed a full set of R67 liners in their mill. Another trial in the USA took place in an iron ore mine with several dozen ball mills in operation. Here, Vulco® R67 liners delivered a 17% increase in life compared to the failed shell plates from the mine’s original mill lining system supplier. The company was extremely impressed with the results and installed a complete shell liner in their ball mill. Moving to Chile, a copper mine was keen to trial the R67 compound to see if they could improve the wear time of a competitor rubber liner. After a three-month trial, all liners were physically measured showing that the Vulco® R67 liners fully worn wear life projected from the actual wear would be 80% longer compared to the incumbent liners. 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Vulco R67® mill liners are made exclusively at Weir Minerals facilities in North and South America, Australia and South Africa, with plans to expand production into more regions in the future.