Saturday, 13 June 2009

President Arroyo inspects LRT-MRT connection

Making an onsite inspection of the ongoing construction of the Light Rail Transit 1 (LRT1) North Extension last night, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo expressed satisfaction over the progress of the project.

When completed, the P6.3-billion project will close the MRT 3-LRT loop on Edsa, between Monumento in Balintawak, Caloocan City, and North Avenue, Quezon City.

The construction of the project had suffered a four-month setback because of delays encountered by the contractor in securing the relevant construction permits from local government units (LGUs) in the areas traversed by the light railway line.

The LRT1 is scheduled to be finished in Jan. 2010 while commercial operation is set for the following month.

LRTA Administrator Melquiades Robles informed the President that an additional P400 million would be needed to construct an elevated common terminal for LRT1 North Extension, MRT 3 and the soon-to-rise LRT 7 (from Bulacan crossing Commonwealth Avenue).

She asked Robles to follow up his request for additional funds with Budget Secretary Andaya.

The President was met at the construction site by Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte, PNP-NCR Chief Roberto Rosales and Robles, among others.

The President expressed elation upon being informed that some displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been hired by DMCI, the contractor of LRT1.

Roberto Puwaw, 33, an electronics technician from the DMCI project in Dubai, lost his job when the company’s overseas project was completed. But Puwaw was called back by DMCI to help out as day supervisor in the construction of the LRT 1 North Extension project.

Cris Ibarra, 43, a civil engineer, had worked in several government projects including those under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). His latest job was with DMCI’s Boracay Hotel in Aklan, but his employment ended with the completion of the project.

The President talked to Puwaw and Ibarra both of whom thanked her profusely for their new employment.

Mall-goers and passersby at the Munoz site of the LRT1 waited for the President, who arrived shortly after 10 p.m. She was briefed on the status of the project by Robles. After the briefing, she headed for the MRT North Avenue station where she boarded a night train together with “graveyard shift” workers in various establishments in Metro Manila.

During the train ride, the President was briefed by MRT Corp. General Manager Reynaldo Berroya on the extended operating hours of the trains.

The President had directed the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) to operate its trains on a 24-hour basis for the benefit of night shift workers including call center agents, security guards and hospital employees.

Call center agents, who were waiting for their ride at the MRT3 terminals, waved at her as her train passed by. (PNA)

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