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Metro mayors okay ‘Skybridge’ project

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) plan to build a

“Skybridge” snaking through an 8.5-kilometer-long stretch of the San Juan River and connecting major thoroughfares in the cities of Makati, San Juan,

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Mandaluyong, and Quezon has overcome its first hurdle.

Last week, the Regional Development Council of the National Capital Region (RDC-NCR) approved “in principle” the project, a brainchild of MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino.

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In giving its nod to the project, the RDC-NCR, whose members include the 17 Metro mayors and the secretaries and heads of national government line agencies and sectoral committees, called for the conduct of a full-blown feasibility study.

“This is no longer just a concept. We have rolled the project into action,” Tolentino said after the RDC-NCR meeting on Wednesday, from which he inhibited himself, being the project proponent. “The next step is we will bring this up with the National Economic and Development Authority board for approval. Before that, we will [need] a feasibility study.”

Tina Velasco, a consultant for the agency, said it would take about a year to do the feasibility study.

“The feasibility study will be made by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. It will start in the middle of July and will take one year to complete,” she said during the presentation of the project to the RDC-NCR.

However, construction of the road, if approved, could begin only by 2018 or 2019 as Velasco said they would have to hold negotiations for the P13.65 billion funding in addition to the bidding process.

Valenzuela Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian, who presided over the meeting, said that the feasibility study should take into consideration several concerns raised during the meeting such as resettlement of affected residents and environmental impact.

“I’m not objecting [to] this project. We see the need to build more roads to traverse Metro Manila. However, I’m objecting to the building of structures in rivers per se. But I don’t agree with canceling or foregoing the project,” Gatchalian said during the meeting.

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The Skybridge is a proposed elevated road which will be built on top of the San Juan River from Quezon Avenue in Quezon City to JP Rizal Avenue in Makati City.

The six-lane road will have on and off ramps on JP Rizal, Shaw Boulevard-Kalentong and Quezon Avenue.

It aims to decongest 40 percent of traffic in major thoroughfares such as Edsa and speed up travel time in the metropolis.

MetroBriefs

July 2, 2012

Page A26

2 drug suspects fall

Two suspected drug pushers were arrested in an entrapment operation in Paco, Manila, on Saturday afternoon. Chief Insp. Robert Domingo, head of the anti-illegal drugs unit of the Manila Police District, identified the two as Joseph Santos, 31; and Macky Manalang, 28; both Paco residents. Domingo said the buy-bust operation on Sagat Street at around 4:30 p.m. was based on a tip given by an informant about the flourishing drug trade in the neighborhood. After coordinating with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, an MPD undercover policeman contacted the two men and pretended to be interested in buying P2,000 worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu.” The policeman then met with Santos and Manalang who were arrested right after the transaction. Around 10 grams of white crystalline substance suspected to be shabu packed in sachets were recovered from the suspects. Domingo estimated the street value of the confiscated drugs at P40,000. Niña Calleja

Trike driver killed

A tricycle driver was shot and killed by a still unidentified attacker as he was about to enter his house before midnight on Saturday. Police Officer 2 Roldan Pittong of the Quezon City Police District named the victim as Marlon Credo, 34, a resident of Maligaya Park Subdivision in Barangay Pasong Putik, Quezon City. Pittong said the victim sustained multiple gunshot wounds and died on the spot. The victim’s sister, Cristina, told the police that she was roused from sleep by gunfire which came from outside their house around 11:30 p.m. She added that when she looked out of their house, she saw a man lying down on the ground. When she came closer, she realized that it was her brother although she did not see the man who shot him. Nancy C. Carvajal

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