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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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Filipinas clobber Singaporeans to grab Group A lead in AFF tourney

July 7, 2022 9:37 p.m.

SKIPPER Tahnai Aniss scored a brace as the Philippine outplayed Singapore 7-0  yesterday to seize the Group A lead in the 15th Asean Football Federation Women’s Championship at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Doing a yeoman’s job for the Filipinas, Aniss scored in the 10th minute off an own-goal by Singapore goalie Beatrice Tan then had a long looping header in the 19th in anchoring  the hosts to their second straight win following a 1-0 upset of Australia last Monday.

With her accurate cross passes, Aniss also set up Sarina Bolden, who scored the game-winner against Australia, with another header in the 38th minute and newcomer Kaya Hawkinson, who scored on a glancing header 11 minutes into the second half.

Slipping past two Singapore defenders, teener Isabella Flanigan opened the scoring floodgates in the 8th minute, Sara Eggsevik had one in the 56th  and Anicka Castaneda , who came off the bench in the second half, added the seventh marker on a follow-up in the in the 69th.

With the victory virtually ensured,  Aniss earned a well-deserved respite and was relieved by Kathleen Rodriguez in the 58th minute of the competition organized by the Philippine Football Federation.  

With their second consecutive win, the charges of coach Alen Stajcic were proudly on top of Group A with six points while the Singaporeans absorbed their first loss in two matches after a scoreless draw with Malaysia last Monday.  

Earlier, Thailand refused to be cowed by Australia yesterday, showing remarkable resiliency and rallied for a well-earned 2-all draw against their fancied rivals.  

Down at 1-2 at the break, the never-say-die Thais levelled the count through Ploychomphoo Somnuek, who struck with a nifty 20-yard volley that hit the top right corner of the net beyond Aussie goalie Jada Mathyssen-Whyman’s reach in the 60th minute.

Kanyanat Chetthabutr had earlier kept the four-time AFF Women’s football champions in the thick of the fight by scoring their first goal from near the midcourt line in the 40th minute, hitting the ball just hard enough past Mathyssen-Wyman, who strayed too far out of the net.

Following their 4-0 rout of Indonesia last Monday, the charges of Japanese coach Miyo Okamoto had four points and were in second spot in the group.

The Matildas, who dropped a 0-1 decision to the Filipinas two days ago, had only one point to show in two matches.         

Aiming to maximize his bench, Stajcic made some changes in his starting lineup, tapping Inna Palacios, making her 50th cap,  as the goalie over Oliva McDaniel while giving midfielder Hawkinson and defender Maya Alcantara their national team debuts.

“0bviously this showed we have a deep bench and the great unity of the team,” noted Stajcic in utilizing most of his players.

The Filipinas try to enhance their semifinal prospects when they go for their third consecutive victory as they  face Malaysia, which drew 1-1 with Indonesia at the Binan Stadium, tomorrow.  

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New COA chief Calida vows to protect people’s money

July 6, 2022 1:46 p.m.

AS LONG as he is in power, newly appointed Commission on Audit chairman Atty. Jose Callangan Calida recently assured Filipinos that public public funds will be safeguarded.

“We are not just acting to promote excellence, but also to make it a habit here in COA. We have to do our job properly, be the best in our field,” Calida of Davao City said, adding that the government’s auditing agency will be transparent and fair to the public.

Calida met the media during his first day in the office, saying that he would do whatever it takes to protect every single centavo of the people’s money.

The Commission on Audit is an independent constitutional commission with the primary function to examine, audit and settle all accounts and expenditures of the funds and properties of the Philippine government.

“COA auditors should correctly scrutinize and carefully inspect accounts. I believe they are the best in the field and we’re here to fight corruption in the government,” he added. “I am warning anybody in COA that if there are shenanigans and mischievous activities, I will remove them.”

The former Solicitor General under the term of former President Rodrigo Duterte met for the first time COA’s commissioners, lawyers and other officials on Monday morning at the COA main office in Quezon City.

Calida, who will be turning 72 on Thursday, also thanked employees of COA for the warm welcome. “Those who are earnest in their work, they will remain in this office and will be rewarded.”

Jayke Joson, a former actor producer, and Jay Ruiz, former news anchor and TV host, were seen accompanying Chairman Calida in his first day at COA.

“We are here to help the new COA chairman set up everything in his first day in office. We believe in him, that’s why we volunteered to give an extra hand to help our Good Chairman in his first day. Atty. Calida is our idol. We call him the Enforcer, because he always enforces the law,” Joson said.

COA Chairman Atty. Jose Calida with Jay Ruiz and Jayke Joson 

“President Marcos appointed a very reliable person to COA. With his track record, he always get the job done. He will not let us down,” he added.

Newly proclaimed President Ferdinand “BongBong Marcos Jr. appointed Calida to lead the COA due to his superb expertise in law and achievements when he led the Office of the Solicitor General, among other government agencies.

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Crossovers seek PVL redemption in Invitationals

July 5, 2022 7:01 p.m.
Games Saturday
2:30 p.m. – Cignal HD vs Army
5:30 p.m. – Choco Mucho vs Chery Tiggo

From top to near-bottom, Chery Tiggo believes there’s no way to go but up as the Crossovers seek to get over the hump of their Premier Volleyball League Open Conference debacle with another top podium finish in the PVL Invitationals unfolding this weekend.

Sure, Jaja Santiago’s absence told heavily on their unsuccessful title-retention drive but limping to eighth place in a field of nine certainly didn’t speak well of the caliber of the players, who, under then-head coach Aaron Velez, bucked the odds and defanged the fancied Creamline Cool Smashers in a gripping Open finale in bubble setup in faraway Ilocos Norte last year.

But the Crossovers struggled without the 6-5 middle blocker in the recent Open that saw them grope for form at 1-3 in pool play, lose to the Cool Smashers in the quarterfinals and bow to the cellar-dweller BaliPure Water Defenders in the classification round.

The team management felt it was time to do a crossover, tapping coach Clarence Esteban to whip the team back into fighting form, fulfill the team’s goal to rebound and earn at least another crack at the championship.

That’s despite the pressure and challenge not just from the rest of the six other local squads but also from two top-notch foreign teams spicing up the title chase in the second round of the mid-season offering of the league organized by Sports Vision.

“Our lineup is intact since all players have existing contracts. So our focus is on improving their skills and abilities. We want them to play as a team and we will instill the importance of the role of each individual inside the court,” said Esteban, also the man at the helm of UST boys’ volley squad and current coach of Mapua’s women’s team.

“Expect us to give our very best to rebuild and organize the team for us to achieve our goal,” he added.

Chery Tiggo kept assistant coach Brian Esquivel while Yani Fernandez returns after helping steer Foton to the 2015 Superliga Grand Prix title romp. Joining them are trainer Robertly Boto and strength and conditioning coach Kevin Villegas.

Velez is now the team manager.

Meanwhile, the league will have a press conference with social media platform KUMU today (Wednesday) from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Infinity Ballroom of F1 Hotel Manila in Global City, Taguig.

“We knew what we went through the last conference, so we will work hard and will do it step-by-step to be able to perform well this conference,” said ace Dindin Santiago-Manabat.

The veteran power hitter, however, said Jaja Santiago still won’t be around due to her commitment in Japan but the team remains as talent-laden as ever with Mylene Paat, EJ Laure, Jasmine Nabor and Buding Duremdes raring to showcase their wares and the rest of the Crossovers eager to step up and put Chery Tiggo in the conversation again.

“While the team had a disappointing campaign the last time out, we will not disappoint the team management for the trust it has given us to lead and guide this team,” added Esteban, whose wards will be as much tested as the rest as it kicks off its campaign against Choco Mucho, one of the young but tall and talented squads in the league, on Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

They clash at 5:30 p.m. after the 2:30 p.m. tussle between Cignal HD and Army Black Mamba.

Petro Gazz and PLDT complete the seven local teams with the top four after the single round elims advancing to the next stage that will feature Japan’s Kobe Shinwa Women’s University and Chinese-Taipei’s Taipei King Whales.

Games will be aired live on One Sports (free to Air Ch 41 and Cignal CH 6) and One Sports+ (Cignal Ch 91 SD, Ch 261 HD) with both channels also available on Cignal’s OTT Platform, Cignal Play, with video on demand also available on the platform.

Matches can also be streamed on social media application KUMU and on the league’s official website pvl.ph.

All the games will be played at the San Juan venue except for the July 23 playdate that will feature Creamline against Choco Mucho, set at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

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