Metro Briefs: August 16, 2019
Araneta-Aurora intersection in Manila closed for 7 nights
Expect heavier nighttime traffic in Manila for a week as the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) closed down on Thursday the Araneta-Aurora intersection in Sta. Mesa to make way for the Skyway Stage 3 Project. Around 17,000 to 18,000 vehicles will be affected by the nightly shutdowns between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. from Aug. 15 to 21, said MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia. The closure will give way to the launching of the girder for the Skyway Stage 3 Elevated Expressway project that will encompass some 18.68 kilometers and cost over P37 billion. Once finished, it is expected to drastically cut travel time from Balintawak to Buendia from 2 hours to 20 minutes. But MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago said certain lanes might still have to be closed after the seven-day period to make way for a lighter girder although this would have minimal effect on traffic. To avoid being inconvenienced, motorists were advised to take alternate routes. For those coming from Shaw Boulevard or V. Mapa, they can take Magsaysay Boulevard, while those coming from Cubao or C3 can take Palanza Street. Trucks coming from Quezon Avenue, on the other hand, can go to España Boulevard toward Nagtahan. —Krixia Subingsubing
Pasay barangay chair linked to drugs shot dead
A Pasay City barangay chair who surrendered three years ago to disprove allegations that he was involved in the drug trade was shot dead on Wednesday afternoon. The 42-year-old Jethro Balais, a three-term Barangay 37 chair, was driving his motorcycle on Gil Puyat Avenue when he was shot thrice by motorcycle riders around 5 p.m. The victim was taken to the Manila Adventist Medical Center but was pronounced dead an hour later. Pasay Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano ordered Police Col. Bernard Yang, the city police chief, to conduct a “thorough investigation” of Balais’ killing. Police Maj. Wilfredo Sangel, Pasay police chief of investigation, said they were looking at illegal drugs and the victim’s work as possible motives. However, their probe was going nowhere because the victim’s family had not been cooperating, Sangel claimed. On April 27, 2011, Balais was shot twice in the chest by an unidentified man, an attack he attributed to tandem-riding suspects and illegal vendors he had apprehended as barangay chair. On Aug. 4, 2016, he surrendered to interior department officials after his name was included in a police drug watch list as a pusher. In April last year, a month before the barangay elections, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency released a “narco list” but Balais was not among the 90 barangay chairs who were named. —Dexter Cabalza
DOTr eyes elevated walkways, bike lanes on Edsa
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said it was considering building elevated walkways and bike lanes on Edsa to help decongest the traffic-choked highway, following Senate majority floor leader Juan Miguel Zubiri’s promise to realign P1 billion in funds to the department for this purpose. Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran said the DOTr already had such projects in the pipeline, but still needed the support of Congress. She did not outline specifics, only that the department was planning to build alongside major mass transportation systems linked to central business districts. “We believe that if we have good walkway and bikeway connections, people will not rely on motorized transport for short-distance rides,” she said. Earlier this year, the DOTr, as well as the Department of Public Works and Highways and Asian Development Bank, announced that they would soon firm up a $100-million loan for a greenways project covering six to seven walkways in North Edsa, Ortigas and Taft intersections. —Krixia Subingsubing
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