Saturday, March 24, 2012

NLEX, SCTEX gears up for Holy Week, to open express lanes

The North Luzon Expressway and the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway will implement an express payment program, the “Holy Week Express Lane”.  The program is intended for Class 1 vehicles traveling to the North this Holy Week. Class 1 vehicles include cars, vans and jeepneys.  The program will start at 2 pm of April 4 (Holy Wednesday) and will end at 5 pm of April 5 (Maundy Thursday).  It seeks to shorten transaction time in busy plazas like Dau-Mabalacat in Pampanga, Subic-Tipo and the Tarlac exits in SCTEX.

Under this program a Class 1 motorist exiting Dau and Subic-Tipo or Tarlac via SCTEX may already pay his/her toll fees in full as he/she passes the Balintawak or Mindanao Avenue Toll Plazas.  Motorists exiting Dau will pay a total toll fee amounting to P218.00 while motorists exiting Subic via SCTEX will pay P408.00 and motorists exiting Tarlac via SCTEX will pay P322.00. This program aims to alleviate queuing at the Toll Plazas especially during peak hours of the Holy Week exodus. Designated Express Lanes are located at the   left side of the Toll Plazas.  Motorists intending to use the Express Lanes should keep left as they approach the toll plazas for their entry and exit.

Ambulant Tellers and Spare Lanes

To speed up transactions at the NLEX, ambulant tellers will be deployed   and spare lanes will be opened at the Balintawak, Mindanao Avenue and Dau Toll Plazas during peak hours. At SCTEX, manual lanes will be set up at Tarlac and Tipo Exits. The deployment of ambulant tellers may be expected on the afternoon of April 4 (Holy Wednesday) till the afternoon of April 5 (Maundy Thursday). Deployment is also set on April 7 (Black Saturday) until April 9 (Araw ng Kagitingan) at the Southbound Bocaue, Dau and Mabalacat Toll Plazas.

Additional Traffic Management Personnel

NLEX/SCTEX traffic personnel will extend working hours to ensure the smooth flow of traffic during the Holy Week exodus. Additional traffic vehicles and enforcers will likewise be deployed to ensure high visibility and immediate assistance to distressed motorists. These additional traffic enforcers will be deployed from April 3-10. They will closely monitor traffic in Balintawak, Mindanao Avenue, Dau and Bocaue, Mabalacat, Tipo and Tarlac and will be ready to assist at Interchanges and stretches of expressways in case of traffic build up.

Balagtas Interchange

NLEX recently opened the Balagtas Interchange, which connects to the Plaridel Bypass Road, a DPWH project, making Northbound travel easier for those going to the towns of Plaridel, Bustos and San Rafael in Bulacan and the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Quirino, Isabela and Cagayan. Instead of taking the Sta.Rita Northbound Exit, motorists may now exit through the Balagtas Interchange. Heading back to Manila, motorists may take the South Bound direction of the new interchange.

 Traffic Increase

The Tollways Management Corporation (TMC), operator of the NLEX and SCTEX expects traffic to increase by 15 to 20 percent from the daily average of vehicles this coming Holy Week.. This daily average of vehicles in NLEX is  160,000 and  24,000 in SCTEX .  Traffic is expected to become heavier starting in the afternoon of April 4 (Holy Wednesday) until the morning of April 5 (Maundy Thursday).

On the other hand, heavy volume of vehicles traveling back to Manila is expected from the afternoon of April 7 (Black Saturday) to the evening of April 9 (Araw ng Kagitingan).

More motorists are expected to go to the provinces this year because of the long weekend.


With the experience of TMC in the past holidays, the manpower and equipment that will be deployed are sufficient to ensure safe, fast and comfortable travel inside the expressway. For assistance and inquiries, motorists are advised to call the NLEX hotline (02) 580-8910, 35000 or (0920) 96-SCTEX (72839) for SCTEX. These hotlines are available 24 hours a day. They may also the website and the NLEX-SCTEX Facebook account Travel On Great Roads.

7 outstanding papers vie for PPI awards

Four weekly and three daily regional publications have made it to the finalists' circle in the 2011 Civic Journalism Community Press Awards.

Weekly publications Mabuhay (Malolos, Bulacan), Baguio Midland Courier (Baguio City), Edge Davao (Davao City) and The Mindanao Cross (Cotabato City) figured prominently in the screenings.

Daily publications Sun.Star Davao (Davao City), Sun.Star Cebu (Cebu City) and Sun.Star Pampanga (City of San Fernando) also made it to the initial round of judging.

All seven community newspapers will be vying for excellence in six major categories:  best in photojournalism, best in culture and arts reporting, best in science and environmental reporting, best in business and economic reporting, best editorial page, and best edited community newspaper.

The winners will be announced during the awards program on April 24 at Traders Hotel Manila during the 16th National Press Forum and Annual Membership Meeting of the Philippine Press Institute. 

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales will be the guest of honor and speaker for the 16th awards season.  No less than President Benigno S. Aquino III will keynote the opening ceremonies of the conference which has "Media Accountability and Public Engagement" as this year's theme. 

The PPI is celebrating its 48th founding year and 25 years since reactivation after the People Power Revolution.

The additional category on culture and arts, which is this year's theme for photos and stories exhibit will be presented by the National Commission on Culture and Arts (NCCA).  The winner of the exhibit will receive trophy and cash.

The management of the awards, cash prizes and trophies are being funded by The Coca-Cola Export Corporation (TCCEC) and the six newspaper-members of the Board such as Malaya, Philippine Daily Inquirer, BusinessWorld, The Philippine Star, Manila Standard Today, and the Journal Group.  The TCCEC is the major strategic partner of the PPI for its project on Building Better Communities Through Civic Journalism since 2002.

The forum and awards are also being supported in part by St. Luke's Medical Center which is this year's corporate partner.  Other major sponsors are:  Chevron Philippines Inc., Liwayway Marketing Corporation, Metro Pacific Investment Corporation, First Philippine Holdings Corporation, Anflo Management Investment Corporation, Petron Philippines, United Laboratories, Land Bank of the Philippines, Pilipinas Shell, McDonald's Philippines, and Smart Communications, Inc.

Part of the donations will go to the training fund of the Institute to support workshops and seminars for its members for continuing media education and professionalization.