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MPIC Bridges the Gap for Cebu-Cordova’s Economic Growth

Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) maintains its crucial role as a reliable partner in nation-building, reaching a major construction milestone for its P30B Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) this month.

CCLEX, MPIC’s first toll road project outside Luzon, has finally closed the two-meter gap that separated the main bridge decks of Towers 1 and 2. Despite unprecedented challenges brought upon by the pandemic, the major construction feat now successfully connects the modest town of Cordova in Mactan Island to Cebu City, providing an alternative route to decongest the traffic-choked channels that preceded it.

Implemented through Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway Corporation (CCLEC), a wholly owned subsidiary of its toll road arm, Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, CCLEX becomes an integral component in MPIC’s goal towards progress for the whole country. Beyond the reduction of traffic and the improvement of accessible travel, the project is expected to positively impact trade activities and create larger economic opportunities for Cebu and the rest of the Visayas region.

An Iconic Bridge

In partnership with the local government units of Cebu City and the Municipality of Cordova, the complex project spanned more than three years of non-stop construction, now cited as an “engineering marvel” and expected to become a tourist attraction within itself.

“It is with pride that we commemorate this milestone for CCLEX, given the current circumstances that could have easily hindered our progress,” said MPIC President and CEO Jose Ma. K. Lim. “Through the resolve of all sectors involved, primarily MPTC and CCLEC, we are gradually reigniting the economy of one of the most dynamic metropolitan areas in the country. It is a strategic step towards spurring industrial growth all throughout the Visayas region.”

CCLEX measures 8.5 kilometers long and rises 51 meters from sea level, poising it to become the country’s largest water-crossing infrastructure. The bridge is built with a navigational clearance to allow large vessels to safely traverse a path underneath the bridge.

The bridge expressway will have two lanes in each direction and will feature the main twin cable-stayed bridge, viaduct approach bridges, a causeway, and toll facilities. Spanning eight kilometers from the mouth of the Guadalupe River to Shell Island and then Cordova, the project will connect mainland Cebu to the Municipality of Cordova and is expected to serve at least 50,000 vehicles daily.

The 8.9-kilometer CCLEX will be open to the public for commercial operations in the first quarter of 2022. The bridge will be using a full electronic toll collection system and is fitted with several state-of-the art equipment, including a Road Weather Information System that provides weather watches and warning for public safety.

A Good Pull for Investments

MPIC’s investment in the region has continuously been cited as an integral factor in the municipality’s rapid economic development. Akin to what the conglomerate has done for Metro Manila, the bridge project is effectively set to help in the daily lives of Cebuanos.

Preceding its completion, CCLEX is already generating positive economic growth for the municipality of Cordova, exhibited by the significant rise in land prices within the proximity of the project site. Prices have reached P5,000 per square meter in January 2020, a drastic leap from the P500 per square meter at most before the start of construction in 2018.

This dramatic boom in real estate value within a short time span, directly increased the Cordova’s demand in the market. A good pull for investments, this attracted the attention of several of the country’s biggest conglomerates including Ayala Corporation, SM Prime Holdings Inc., and the Gokongwei Group. The economic growth, partially brought about by the opening of CCLEX, has incited the need for business owners in Cordova to create their own chamber of commerce organization.

In 2019, business stakeholders were initiating moves to groom Cordova as the ‘Sentosa’ of Cebu. Similar to the island resort off Singapore’s southern coast, Cordova was set to become the “crown jewel” of tourism and business in Metro Cebu.

“The influx of infrastructure brought about by the completion of CCLEX is already generating socio-economic impacts that truly benefits all our constituents,” said Cordova Mayor Mary Therese “Teche” Sitoy-Cho. “We are grateful for the work that MPIC and their tollways arm has dedicated into helping us achieve our goal of becoming a more advanced and smart municipality. Aside from improving the convenience of travel, this project has been integral in creating more employment opportunities and uplifting our local tourism as another means of livelihood for our community.”

Linking Progress and Purpose

Beyond the infrastructural advancement that the bridge’s construction entails, CCLEX has become an avenue for the socio-economic development of its fenceline communities, all while integrating an environmentally conscious approach to its blueprint.

CCLEX was built as a “fishermen’s bridge” with additional clearance and channels designed into the structure to give local fishermen and their boats access to their traditional fishing grounds. When over 380 fisherfolks from Barangays Bangbang and San Miguel in Cordova town were required to temporarily cease their operations to allow for the filling activities for the causeway segment, CCLEC ensured the appropriate compensation, providing financial assistance and rice for them and their families.

The bridge was carefully designed and built to protect the existing 278-hectare mangrove ecosystem. With Metro Pacific Investments Foundation (MPIF), MPIC, and the Cordova LGU, CCLEC inaugurated its Mangrove Propagation and Information Center in Barangay Day-as, as part of MPIF’s flagship environmental program, Shore It Up!

As its legacy project for the entire country, the two-storey facility shall serve as the center for the protection and propagation of mangrove trees in the coastal areas, including the rehabilitation of degraded mangroves in the whole Municipality of Cordova. It will also be an information hub to let locals and visitors appreciate the importance and benefits of mangroves in the ecosystem. The Mangrove Center directly employed four Cordova locals to serve as mangrove eco-guides in the Centers.

“MPIC is driven forward with the mindset that we cannot operate our businesses with just profit in mind. More importantly, we must be driven by purpose – by always doing good while doing well,” said MPIC Chief Finance Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer Chaye Cabal-Revilla. “Becoming a partner in nation-building not only entails infrastructural progress but becoming a catalyst in uplifting the lives of all Filipinos.”

The completion of CCLEX is aligned with MPIC’s commitment to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), primarily SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, 9 Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, and 17 Partnerships for the Goals.

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NEWS

Atayde bats for moratorium on student loan payments during emergencies, calamities

March 17, 2023 9:00 p.m.

STUDENTS won’t have to worry paying their loans during times of calamities and emergencies, as Quezon City first district Congressman Juan Carlos “Arjo” Atayde has introduced a moratorium on the payment of student loans administered by higher educational institutions (HEIs).

The House Bill 7279, which Atayde filed last Feb. 21, headed into its first reading six days later in the Committee on Higher and Technical Education, chaired by Baguio City Rep. Mark O. Go.

He said the bill — once it turns to a law — will halt the payment of all the fees, charges, and costs relating to student loans and technical-vocational training institutions (TVIs) or by the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UNIFAST) during emergencies.

It will cover all students residing in areas declared to be under a state of calamity or emergency — those who are enrolled in state universities and colleges (SUCs), local universities and colleges (LUCs), private HEIs, and public and private TVIs.

“We have to find a way to help our students and their families, when natural or even these man-made calamities hit them hard. We just have to make everything easy for them including a moratorium on the payment of student loans,” Atayde said. “It is a burden on a student and their family especially in difficult times like aftermath of typhoon, fire and earthquakes, among other disasters.”

“In the order of spending, student loans will be their least priority since spending will go mostly to basic necessities for survival,” Atayde added.

The moratorium shall be effective for the duration of the state of calamity or emergency and for 30 days after its lifting. No penalties shall be collected on the deferred payments.

“To provide adequate relief and protection to our students in times of calamities and emergencies, this measure shall allow the deferral of student loan collections for a reasonable period during and after the onset of disasters.”

The Quezon City lawmaker cited also the availability of the moratorium, which shall not adversely affect the status of the students concerned with regard to their eligibility for re-enrollment on the succeeding semesters or terms, or their eligibility for graduation.

“The proposed legislation doesn’t prevent public and private HEIs from implementing more favorable forms of payment relief or assistance to students affected by disasters, prohibiting students from voluntarily waiving the moratorium on student loan payments, or availing subsidies and assistance from the government,” Atayde concluded.

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ShopeePay now available as a payment method for App Store, other Apple services in PH

March 16, 2023 1:59 p.m.

Beginning today, ShopeePay, Shopee’s integrated mobile wallet, is now available as a payment method for Apple services in the Philippines. Customers can use their ShopeePay account to pay for App Store, Apple Music, Apple TV app, and iTunes Store purchases, iCloud storage and more.

The addition of ShopeePay as an Apple ID payment method offers a new way to pay for Apple services without needing a credit card and still allows for easy, secure one-tap purchasing from Apple products including iPhone, iPad and Mac. 

Customers can manage their Apple ID payment information in Settings on iPhone and  iPad, or on their Mac or PC.

Agatha Soh, Director at ShopeePay commented, “ShopeePay is committed to meeting the needs of users who are increasingly expecting seamless payments across all platforms. We are excited to offer  ShopeePay as a convenient payment option for our customers, and expand  access to digital payments, benefitting more users.”

For more information on how to add ShopeePay as a payment method, please visit https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201266 or https://shopee.ph/m/ShopeePay-Apple-ID-PH.

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Be bolder, braver, more confident at SM Supermalls’ Women’s Month celebration!

March 8, 2023, 8:30 p.m.

Ladies, take center stage as SM celebrates Women Power throughout the month of March. Lots of activities both online and on-ground are in store to empower women and girls all over the country. 

Join the Future of Women Global Summit

SM Supermalls will be joining UN Women in kicking off the IWD 2023 celebration through a women’s summit on March 8, at the SM Aura Premier Samsung Hall. Focusing on the future of women in ICT, the two-part event will gather young women, country leaders, policy makers, and advocates together to share perspectives and affirm their commitment to supporting digital equality for women and girls. 

Photo courtesy of SM City Lucena

Photo courtesy of SM City San Jose del Monte

Support your local Womenpreneurs

Great finds for ladies are on sale at the SM Womenpreneur Market! This pop-up of small and medium businesses owned by women for women will give you everything you need from food and beauty to wellness and fashion! 

Wednesdays are for women!

Shopping on Wednesdays has become even more tempting because the Women’s Wednesday Sale is back! Achieve the glow-up you deserve with special discounts, deals, and promos on fashion, beauty, and fitness exclusively for women every Wednesday of March. So don’t hold back on your shopping; you deserve all these and more!

A beautiful treat of wellness all for you

Forda glow-up and pampering sesh tayo this month because lots of self-care deals are available at the Women’s Wellness Sale. Avail of great deals from wellness salons on facials, hair and body treatments, nail care, and massage from March 1 to March 31.

And more deals online!

Special deals are up for women via the SM Malls Online app. Get the best brand offerings every Wednesday from shoes and beauty and wellness to home and hobbies. Use the code WOMEN and get an extra 10% off, capped at 250. What’s great is that there’s no minimum purchase required! 

Also, a collection of brand vouchers will be sent to all women SM Malls Online shoppers valid all month. Wait for your Beauty Pass and give yourself the retail therapy you deserve with tons of discounts, GWP deals, samplers, in-store pick up bonuses, and mystery boxes!

Plus, the SM Malls Online app will be hosting self-care sessions online. Follow SM Supermalls on social media to get a dose of starter packages, Get-Ready-With-Me routines, and beauty products that your favorite beauty experts swear by.

Photo courtesy of SM City East Ortigas

Photo courtesy of SM City Manila

Celebrate Women Power on IG!

Capture the beauty and power of women at the beautiful spots and installations all over SM. Be free to express your own uniqueness and creativity in the specially-designed selfie spaces in partnership with Selfie Studio. Don’t forget to tag us on IG!

We don’t know about you but exciting days await every SM woman. So be bolder, braver, and more confident! With these activities, you can confidently step forward in fashion, beauty, wellness, and express yourselves to make a positive impact.

Stay updated on all things women this IWD 2023 by visiting www.smsupermalls.com and following @smsupermalls on social media. 

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