Thursday, November 7, 2013

MNTC to confer safety awards to outstanding drivers, firms

MALOLOS CITY—The Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC), builder of and concessionaire of the 90-kilometer North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) is set to confer recognition to outstanding companies that pursues road safety in using the expressway.

Dubbed as the NLEXcellence Safety Awards, 15 awardees will be feted next week at the SM Mall of Asia Convention Center (SMX). Rodrigo Franco, president and CEO of the MNTC, said the awardees include bus and trucking companies who share the same values on road safety as the NLEx.

He said the ingrained culture of safety by both the MNTC and Tollways Management Corporation (TMC), the operator of NLEx, is what sets NLEx apart.

However, joint MNTC-TMC advocacy and mission for road safety cannot be successful without the support and cooperation of drivers and operators of vehicles using the expressways, he added.

As a tribute to responsible partners in road safety, the MNTC has been giving recognition to outstanding companies. However, they restructured the award’s mechanics and criteria this year to further highlight NLEx’s strong advocacy on road safety.

Franco said that in the NLEXcellence award, bus and truck companies will be recognized for exemplary performance in ensuring safety on the road.

“The NLEXcellence Safety Awards demonstrates how deeply we recognize safety as shared value between the awardees and ourselves,” he said. Franco further said “the awards is touted to be a testament of the company’s strengths and capabilities, the quality of its personnel, products and services.

It redounds to the companies reliability and dependability, generates client’s trust and confidence, industry respect and prestige which could lead more business and opportunities for the awardees.”

The awards will have the following categories: vehicle quality, driver’s professionalism, and company operational excellence. Nominees in the vehicle quality category are assessed based on vehicles’ roadworthiness, specifically the condition of vehicle’s engine, tires, breaks, lights, the presence of safety devices and emergency tools, presence of required documents, as well as vehicles’ cleanliness and comfort of the driver and his assistant.

In the driver’s professionalism category, nominees are evaluated based on their skills in driving, knowledge of traffic rules, regulations and signs, physical fitness, health and presentable appearance, apprehension record, their regulatory compliance, and driving qualifications.

In the company operational excellence category, companies are assessed on the basis of their safety record, company policies, and programs physical examination of drivers that may include drugs and alcohol tests, regular skills training, and behavioral workshops, close management supervision.

The company should also have an extensive vehicle care program such as regular pre-emptive maintenance, mandatory replacement of tires and other wearing parts, like break-pads, clutch, belts, filters, and others.

The vehicle should also be washed and cleaned regularly. The garage or motorpool should also be clean and adequately equipped to handle most if not all repair and maintenance work by a qualified mechanic.

Franco said that criteria for each category follow a track towards building an expressway environment where travelers will have peace of mind, as they travel safely, comfortably and conveniently.

Bulacan legislator to file charges vs.DPWH

MALOLOS CITY—A Bulacan provincial board member warned of filing charges against the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for improper implementation of infrastructure projects in the province.

This came as DPWH officials drew flak for the road-widening project along the MacArthur Highway here while public utilities posts have not been transferred.

Records showed that about 1,000 electric and telephone posts have encroached on the road right of way of the Manila North Road or the MacArthur Highway from Meycauayan City Calumpit town.

“I will definitely file charges against the DPWH if they will issue certifi cate of completion to their contractors,” Board Member Michael Fermin said. He said that implementation of road widening project along the MacArthur Highway is “improper.”

Fermin said that over 200 posts are still on the way of drainage canals being constructed or within the road right of way. “That’s a clear misuse of public funds and bad stewardship of people’s money,” he said.

The Senior Board Member also noted that more than a week ago, the said drainage canal was repaired even if the project is not completed yet. “They upgraded the canal and if they spent P2 million with it the first time  constructed the canal, they spent the same for the repair,” he said.

Fermin also blamed the DPWH for lack of consultation with local government units before implementing the project. He also expressed dismay over the lack of monitoring and assessment by provincial and city engineering offices on the said project.

“I wonder why,” Fermin said and added, “they should have the last word before the implementation.”

For his part, Engineer Glenn Reyes, head of the Provincial Engineering Office (PEO) said they conduct monitoring on the said projects. But when asked if PEO conducts on-site monitoring and ocular inspection during the implementation of the project, Reyes said they only receive reports from the DPWH.

With regards to relocation of public utilities posts along the MacArthur Highway, Engineer Ruel Angeles said they have been coordinating with public utilities companies, but their requests to relocate posts were disregarded.

He added that since they started implementing road widening along the MacArthur Highway in 2005, they had already sent requests. However, Fermin and Gov, Wilhelmino Alvarado said public utilities companies responded by relocating some of the posts in Guiguinto town and in Barangay Dakila in this city.

Fermin stressed that lack of [proper coordination in the implementation of said road widening project will cost the government a lot money.