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Philippines Today

MANDALUYONG CITY — San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has embarked on a P554-billion expansion of toll roads and expressways in a joint venture with state-run Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC).


SMC president and COO Ramon Anga said the development of the infrastructure projects, including one that extends the South Luzon Expressway all the way to Pagbilao, Quezon and then to Matnog in Sorsogon, is set to start as early as next year.


San Miguel Holdings Corp. (SMHC), SMC's infrastructure arm, and PNCC have signed an agreement reiterating their existing agreements on the projects.

SMHC and PNCC are joint venture partners in Citra Central Expressway Corp. (CCEC) and Citra Intercity Tollways, Inc. (CITI), the companies that own the concession rights of Skyway Stages 3 and 4, respectively.

Through its legislative franchise, PNCC has the authority to construct, maintain and operate the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) and Skyway Stages 1, 2, 3 and all extensions, linkages or stretches from any part of the existing toll roads.

“Within the next year or so, we hope that work can begin on the extension of (South Luzon Expressway), Skyway Stage 3 and C6. We have within our agreement all the extensions that will help us create an entire seamless network of roads and expressways connecting Metro Manila to neighboring provinces. We will operate, between us, the most extensive network of Philippine tollways,” Mr. Ang said.

Other expansion projects in the pipeline include the San Pedro-C6 Laguna Lake Road that will link SLEx from San Pedro, Laguna to C6 in Taguig City; Skyway Stage 8 or Tanauan-Tagaytay Expressway; SLEx Toll Road 5 that will extend the expressway from Pagbilao, Quezon to Matnog, Sorsogon; Skyway Stage 7 that will connect Taguig to Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City; Buendia Interchange and Ramp Extension to Macapagal Boulevard and Skyway Stage 9 or Pasig River Alignment.

Mr. Ang reiterated San Miguel’s commitment with PNCC “to do everything we can” to deliver the infrastructure projects that fall within their concession agreement. Both parties are looking to fast-track the process of prioritizing and constructing identified projects.

“A dynamic, job-creating economy needs good infrastructure and a good transport system. We need to fast-track infrastructure spending to significantly improve investment into the Philippines. Good roads, good airports, good ports-all of this was needed yesterday, “ Mr. Ang said.

PNCC President and CEO Mario K. Espinosa said: “PNCC is looking forward to exploring with SMHC the possible stretches, linkages and extensions that can be built from the toll roads of our existing joint venture companies.”


“This augurs well for the recent extension of PNCC’s corporate life by another 50 years, which was directed by President Rodrigo Duterte,” Espinosa  said.

(Photo from Instagram | @livevamaria)


Filipino-American stage actress Eva Noblezada has been nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for this year's Tony Awards.

Noblezada, 21, of San Diego, California, was nominated for her exceptional portrayal of Kim in the "Miss Saigon", a role she also played at London's West End.

Among Eva's fellow nominees were Denée Benton for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812;     Christine Ebersole for War Paint;  Patti LuPone for War Paint; and    Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!

The list of nominations was announced at  the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at the Lincoln Center.

The Tony Awards honors theater professionals for distinguished achievements on Broadway.


Singer Lea Salonga, whose real name is Maria Lea Carmen Salonga, was the first Asian and Filipino to win the Tony award. She was only 20 years old in 1991 when she accepted the Best Actress Tony for her heartbreaking portrayal of Kim in "Miss Saigon."


Noblezada first got the role of Kim in the London revival of Miss Saigon after she auditioned in 2013, shortly after her high school graduation from the Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Upsurge in foreign tourists in PHL cited

Published in Travel

MANILA — Malacañang welcomed the continuing influx of foreign visitors in the country after the Philippines' hit a four-year high on foreign tourist arrivals.


“Foreign tourists chose to ignore the political noise and believe that it’s really more fun in the Philippines,” Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.


Abella noted that a total of 579,178 visitors were recorded in February or an increase of 27.81 percent over the past four years, adding that it is 5.36 percent higher than the same period last year.


Abella, meanwhile, assured foreign tourists that more improvements are to be expected in the country, noting the Duterte administration’s Build-Build-Build projects, which include tourism infrastructure such as airports, railways, and road networks.


“Millions of jobs will be generated in the transport and tourism sectors as we usher in the Golden Age of Infrastructure within the next five years. We therefore hope to make the tourism sector not only sustainable and competitive but also socially responsible to bring comfortable lives to all Filipinos,” Abella said.


Abella likewise lauded New York-based global debt watcher S&P Global Ratings’ stable outlook on the Philippines, saying that it resonates the satisfactory effects of the country’s policy in fiscal and debt metrics.


S&P expects the country’s Gross Domestic Product to grow annually by 4.9 percent or around USD 2,950 GDP per capita within the next four years.


“The stable outlook on the Philippine economy also shows that policies continue to provide a favorable environment for sustained growth,” he said, adding that the country’s “BBB” long-term credit rating reflects the country’s strong external position and adequate capacity to meet financial commitments.


In the same briefing, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Executive Director for ASEAN Affairs Zaldy Patron said the Philippines has successfully hosted the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit over the weekend, noting that the leaders had a fruitful discussion on important issues in ASEAN.


Patron said the ASEAN leaders noted the bloc’s improving cooperation with China.


“They looked forward to the completion of a framework of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea by middle of this year, in order to facilitate the early conclusion of an effective COC,” Patron said.


“Whereas before, China and ASEAN Member States do not even want to start discussion on the framework of Code of Conduct. But under the Philippine chairmanship, we have seen a lot of movements in the discussion and China has already made an announcement that it’s also supportive of having a framework of the COC. So that is something that we would like to take advantage of. It’s a step forward to having a full and effective COC,” he added.


Patron meanwhile said the ASEAN leaders “expressed grave concern over recent developments in the Korean Peninsula.”


“They urged the DPRK to immediately comply fully with its obligations arising from all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions,” Patron said.


The 30th ASEAN Summit also saw the signing by the Leaders of the ASEAN Declaration on the Role of the Civil Service as a Catalyst for Achieving the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.


The declaration recognizes the significance of the civil service as the backbone of good governance and a catalyst in building the ASEAN Community.

VP Robredo pays P8 M in poll protest

Published in Latest News

(Photo from Facebook | @LeniRobredoPH)


MANILA — The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo paid P8-million as first installment of the P15.44 million required by Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) on the election protest filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. filed against her.


Robredo paid the amount after the PET denied her petition to defer her payment of P15.44 million as deposit for her petition to dismiss the election protest. 


Robredo won the 2016 vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos who got 14,155,344 votes.


Robredo said that the down payment came from her personal funds and loan from relatives of her late husband former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.


”Ang P8 million po hirap na hirap tayo para ibigay, iyong P36 million po ng mga Marcos isang iglap nandiyan na agad. Pero tayo po kahit mahirap, kahit po maraming pagsubok ang pinagdadaanan, hindi naman po natin ipapayag na basta-basta nalang kunin sa atin ang boses ng taumbayan,” Robredo said.


”Alam po ninyo na ang laban na ito hindi lang po ito tungkol sa akin. Ang laban pong ito tungkol sa ating lahat. Tungkol po sa ating mga Pilipino na nangnanais na hintuin na ang dating kalakaran sa ating pamahalaan. Nagpapasalamat po kami na kahit napakahirap po ng laban, alam po natin kung gaano kahirap labanan ang mga Marcos, maraming pera, talagang ang pagnanais makabalik sa kapangyarihan nandiyan,” she added.


The second tranche of payment of P7.43 million is required to be given on July. 


Last March 21, the PET ordered Marcos to pay  P66,223,000 for the 132,446 precincts for his election protest against Robredo to proceed.


The tribunal earlier required Robredo to pay about half of the cash deposit of PHP8 million last April 14. But after rejecting her appeal on the order, she was given five days from receipt of the latest order to pay the amount. 

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