Construction of a North Edsa common station gets underway

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and BF Corporation and Foresight Development and Surveying Company Consortium have signed a contract for the design and construction of the unified grand central station or the common station.

Located at the north end of EDSA, the common station marks the intersection of four railway lines – the LRT-1, MRT-3, MRT-7, and the Metro Manila Subway. It aims to provide a seamless transfer of passengers from one rail line to another.

The common station will feature a transit area for the riding public and an automated fare collection system which will give commuters better point-to-point mobility and comfort. It is expected to serve approximately 500,000 passengers daily upon completion.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade led the signing ceremony at the site of the construction, together with Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Reinier Paul Yebra and Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan who signed the contract on behalf of the DOTr.

Sec. Tugade stressed the importance of the common station — interoperability, inter-modality and interconnectivity. Those three are key elements in making the Filipino life comfortable,” Secretary Tugade said.

With the location of the common station stalled since 2009, DOTr Secretary Tugade, in the first 100 days of the Duterte administration, met with all parties involved and got them to agree on a location.

The common ctation is a 13,700-square meter concourse comprised of three areas: Area A under the DOTr, Area B under Ayala Land Inc., and Area C under the MRT-7 Project facilitated by San Miguel Corporation (SMC). Since the groundbreaking in 2017, Ayala Land Inc. has started the construction of Area B.

Area A is set to be completed by 2020, while the entire common ctation is expected to be operational by 2022.

Construction of the common station is one of many projects under the Build, Build, Build Program of the Duterte administration.

Secretary Tugade stressed that “groundbreaking is one thing. Completion of a project is another thing. If you do not complete the project with the quality expected and within the timeline formulated, I will hold you accountable in the books.”



DOTr Sec. Tugade with other officials

DOTr Sec. Tugade (2nd from left), Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative Yoshio Wada, Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co. Ltd. President and CEO Hideo Arai, Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan, PNR General Manager Junn Magno, Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, and other government officials and stakeholders,  lower the time capsule into the construction site ground during the groundbreaking ceremony for the PNR Clark Phase 1 (Tutuban-Malolos).

North-South commuter railway project

Construction of the North-South commuter railway project is going full blast that would connect Tutuban station in Manila to Malolos to the north, known as PNR Clark Phase 1.

PNR Clark Phase 1, a 37.6-kilometer mass railway transportation, is one of the flagship projects of the Duterte administration implemented by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Philippine National Railways (PNR).

It will have 13 train sets, composed of 8 cars each, which will be running at a maximum speed of 120 kilometers per hour.

PNR Clark Phase 1 will have a total of 10 stations — Tutuban, Solis, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Meycauayan, Marilao, Bocaue, Balagtas, Guiguinto, and Malolos and will house a depot at a 14-hectare lot in Valenzuela City.

Once completed, this project will reduce travel time between Manila and Bulacan from one hour and 45 minutes to 35 minutes, serving approximately over 300,000 passengers daily.

PNR Clark Phase 1 will be seamlessly connected with the PNR Clark Phase 2 (Malolos-Clark) and PNR Calamba, forming one integrated commuter railway system that will serve commuters travelling to and from Manila, Region III, and Region IV-A.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) signed the contract with Sumitomo Mitsui Construction on 23 January 2019 where advanced works started to make way for full construction.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade led the groundbreaking ceremony, together with Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative Yoshio Wada, Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan, PNR General Manager Junn Magno, Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, and officials from the public and private sector.

“This is the President’s gift not only to the people of Bulacan and Pampanga, but more importantly, to the people of this country, in high hopes of providing them with an efficient and comfortable mode of transport. The President would like to reiterate his commitment, that we are committed to give a comfortable life without any temptation or badge of corruption,” Secretary Tugade said.

“During my watch, I want this system to be fast and sure, and I expect that the philosophy of ‘fast and sure’ will be implanted in this project so that this portion will be completed by the last quarter of 2021,” said Tugade.

Appropriate resettlement is ongoing as part of the government’s social responsibility for approximately 300 informal settler families (ISFs) along the project alignment.

The DOTr has signed a agreement with the PNR, National Housing Authority (NHA), Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and Local Government Units (LGU’s) for the relocation and resettlement of affected families (ISFs) in Caloocan, Manila, Valenzuela and Guiguinto.

“We affirm our relationship with the Japanese government as we are working very closely together with multiple projects for the benefit of the Filipino people,” Secretary Tugade said.

“Utilizing Japanese technologies and years of railway expertise, the railway project will not only revive traditional railroads but also build a state-of-the-art rapid transit system that is at par with international standards,” Ambassador Haneda said.

British Council holds IELTS Fair 2019 in Cebu City

British Council downloadThe British Council in the Philippines is holding its fourth run of the British Council IELTS Fair in Cebu City at the Quest Hotel on 2 March 2019.

The IELTS Fair is an annual event that aims to help test takers access global opportunities through IELTS.

This year’s theme, “IELTS: Your Access to the World”, highlights IELTS (International English Language Testing System) as the world’s most recognised English language test for overseas higher education and global migration.

The event brings together review centres, immigration consultancies, recruitment firms, and education agencies to provide support and information on the different immigration pathways, study programmes and work opportunities in countries where English is the language of communication.

Representatives from different embassies will share different immigration pathways to study or work in their countries. Participating British Council IELTS partners include 9.0 Niner IELTS Review and Tutorial Center, ASC Global Recruitment, AUG Philippines, CEVAS Language Center, J. Rooz Review Center, NEAC Medical Exams Application Center, Orange International Recruitment Services, RSS Outbound Consultancy Services, and World English Reviews. Other organisations such as Abojeb Manpower Solutions, Edugate Australia, Education Center of Australia, Health Carousel Philippines, KOKOS Philippines, Nextkey Education Consultancy, Murdoch University, Omanfil Manpower Development Corporation, Pinoys2Canada Immigration Consultancy Services, Pinoys2Abroad Review Center, Singapore Institute of Management, SP Jain Global School of Management, and Study International are also present to share their services and benefits.

The whole day event includes free workshop delivered by British Council IELTS expert on listening, reading, writing and speaking.

Last year’s IELTS prize winner, Yla Gloria Paras, will also share her journey from taking the test to becoming an overseas student in the UK and finishing her MSc Regulation programme at the London School of Economics. “IELTS has not only helped me fulfill the requirement for my university admission but it has ultimately fulfilled my dream of pursuing higher studies in the UK,” said Yla.

The IELTS Prize is given to high-calibre individuals who would like to pursue undergraduate or post-graduate programmes of higher institutions that accept IELTS as part of its admission requirements.

This year, three local prizes amounting to PHP 1 million will be awarded to students from the Philippines with regional prizes for regional winners in the East Asia region totaling PHP 3.8 million. An IELTS prize booth will be available at the event to accept applications for the IELTS prize.

Attendees who will register for their test during the event will get freebies such as Grab vouchers worth Php 300, access to Road to IELTS: Limited Version and the IELTS Online Practice Book, plus free vouchers to the British Council Learning Hub workshops.


ASG expands strategic partnerships to 29%


ASG Technologies has expanded its strategic partnership to 29 percent from 12 percent over the last five years as it recorded consecutive revenue growth last year.

The US-based technology company is expected to expand its customer base to 3,500 customers worldwide this year.

In the Philippines, ASG is led by Michael Moreto, director of sales for the Philippines and Indonesia.

ASG, the only solutions provider for both information management and IT systems management, would continue its investment this year and focus on working with partners to drive innovation and deliver unsurpassed value to mutual customers.

In a statement, ASG Technologies CEO Charles Sansbury said: “I am so proud of the growth that ASG achieved over the past several years.”

“We like to say that ASG is big enough to matter and small enough to care. I think our accomplishments from the past year prove that. Our stability and size allow us to support global enterprise demands, while still being able to service clients in highly personalized ways and power innovation,” said Sansbury.

ASG’s customers include Bupa (Australia & New Zealand), Duke University, Genesco Inc., McKesson Corporation, Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale(NORD/LB), Postbank, Southern Company, State of Georgia, State of Tennessee, Washington State Department of Social and Health, Thomas & Betts, Univar USA, Inc. and UTC Aerospace Systems.

In a statement, Mike Mahon, president and CEO of Zia Consulting, said: “We partnered with ASG Technologies because of our strong cultural and technical alignment. Their solutions are built to scale and built to last, so together we can be a part of our customers’ long-term strategies.

“In 2018, ASG made numerous improvements to their platforms, from refreshing user interfaces, to implementing modern system architecture, to acquiring other technologies that will extend their solutions,” said Mahon.

“Serving our customers is our number one priority,” said Swamy Viswanathan, EVP and Chief Product Officer, ASG Technologies in a statement.

“Organizations are navigating a fast-changing business and regulatory environment and need to operate with as much agility as possible to be successful. We know from our survey of CIOs that compliance is a top concern, so we are focused on providing solutions that not only make compliance efforts simple and efficient, but also unearth critical insights that can steer our customers’ businesses forward.”

ASG was recognized as a leader in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Metadata Management Solutions and one of KMWorld’s 100 Companies That Matter in Knowledge Management.

ASG also received a number of awards including Business Intelligence Group’s 2018 BIG Award for Enterprise Company of the Year – Technology Software, the Bronze Stevie for the American Business Award for Most Innovative Tech Company of the Year and the A-Team Group’s 2018 RegTech Award for Best Vendor Solution for Data Governance.