METRO PACIFIC Tollways Corp. (MPTC) is set to implement its annual motorist assistance program for Undas (All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1), when it expects a 10% increase in traffic. In a statement on Thursday, MPTC said its ‘Safe Trip Mo Sagot Ko’ program will be activated from Oct. 25 to Nov. 4 along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), Subic–Clark–Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), and Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx) “to enhance traffic management and toll collection.” Aside from traffic personnel who will be monitoring and managing the influx of motorists, the company additional “patrol and incident response teams will be fielded in strategic areas to immediately assist motorists. Speed and lane management teams will also be on heightened alert to enforce traffic discipline for road safety.” From Oct. 26 to Nov. 2, the Balintawak Toll Plaza will open a maximum of 24 toll collection points while Mindanao Avenue, Tarlac, and Tipo toll plazas will open a maximum of 10, 15, and 6 toll collection points, respectively. The Bocaue Toll Barrier will have a maximum of 55 collection points for Manila-bound motorists from Nov. 1 to 4. Toll tellers at the Tarlac Toll Plaza, MPTC also said, will be ready to issue pre-encoded transit tickets to motorists for faster transactions. MPTC is also suspending construction works along the mainline road at the NLEx-SCTEx-CAVITEx from Oct. 24 to Nov. 4, “unless safety repairs are necessary.” MPTC is the tollways unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls.
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Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is also implementing its ‘Oplan Byaheng Ayos’ on Oct. 25–Nov. 4 in the 42 airports it covers nationwide. During the Undas period last year, CAAP said it recorded over 2.08 million domestic and international passengers. The Byaheng Ayos program involves setting up help desks for travelers and added security measures in coordination with the Office for Transport Security for baggage screenings and with the Police-Aviation Security Group for perimeter security and surveillance. The Philippine Ports Authority likewise said it is ready to roll out its assistance program, including the deployment of security personnel. — Arjay L. Balinbin