NEWS AT A GLANCE

Traffic on EDSA to ease

By Myla Iglesias -January 15, 2021

MANILA — Traffic congestion on Epifanio de los Santos avenue (EDSA) is expected to ease with the completion of the P44.7-billion Skyway Stage 3 project that is seen to provide a major boost to the country’s post-pandemic recovery.

With the full opening of all seven lanes of the 18-kilometer Skyway 3 from Buendia, Makati to North Luzon expressway starting today, a huge number motorists will now have an alternative to EDSA, said Ramon Ang, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) president.

“At full capacity, with 7 lanes available, Skyway can easily handle 50 percent of EDSA traffic, or 200,000 vehicles per day. Together with the existing Skyway 1 and 2, the Skyway system now has 38 kilometers of elevated expressway with 36 on- and off-ramp access points. This will greatly contribute to decongesting Metro Manila traffic,” Ang said.

Since its soft-opening last December 29 – free to the public until February 1 – some 71,000 vehicles per day have been passing through Skyway 3, using only the four lanes initially opened.

Skyway Stage 3 is one of the 25 projects which will be completed under the EDSA decongestion program, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Mark Villar, DPWH secretary, said traffic in Metro Manila will further ease by next year.

“When we assumed office in 2016, the congestion level was at 71 percent – the second worst traffic congestion in the world. We were losing P3.5 billion a day due to traffic in Metro Manila. This will no longer be the case in 2022 due to the President’s political will,” Villar said.

Meanwhile, Ang also committed to President Duterte that SMC will continue to work to further decongest Metro Manila by linking the east and west of the metropolis through the Pasig River expressway (Parex) project.

Parex, a 19.4-km. six-lane elevated expressway along the banks of the Pasig River, will complete the north-south, east-west link, connecting Radial Road 10 in Manila, EDSA, and Circumferential Road 5 and decongesting Rizal, Cainta and Marikina.

It will provide a faster, alternative access to the Makati, Ortigas and Bonifacio Global City business districts.

According to Ang, the project can be completed by 2023.

Also, Ang said work has started on the construction of the Manila International Airport in Bulacan, a sustainable solution to decongesting air traffic in the country.

Touted as the single-largest investment ever in the Philippines, the airport project will connect to major thoroughfares in the metropolis. It will have four-parallel runways and modern, world-class facilities.

Ang set the opening date of the massive airport project for 2025. Two major expressways connecting to the airport will also open by 2023.

Both the Parex and Bulacan airport projects are to be connected to the Skyway system, further extending the country’s infrastructure network.
 

PH Eligible Again To Participate In US

H-2B Visa Program In 2021

by RITCHEL MENDIOLA

   

THE Philippines can now participate in the United States’ H-2B visa program again after two years of ineligibility.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State (DOS), announced the list of countries on Tuesday, January 12.

For 2021, the acting secretary of homeland security and the secretary of state have agreed to add the Philippines to the list of countries eligible to participate in the H-2B program. However, it is still not eligible to participate in the H-2A program.

The H-2A visa program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to fill temporary and seasonal agricultural jobs, while the H-2B visa program lets U.S. employers bring foreign nationals to the U.S. to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs.

The Philippines was removed by the DHS from the list in 2019 because the country no longer met “the regulatory standards for the H-2A and H-2B visa programs.” Last year, the ineligibility remained in place.

A Federal Register document said the Philippines had a high H-2B overstay rate. In FY 2017, the DHS estimated that nearly 40% of H-2B visa holders from the Philippines overstayed their period of authorized stay.

The DHS and DOS, in their list, also announced that they are no longer designating the Independent State of Samoa and Tonga as eligible countries because they no longer meet the regulatory standards for the H-2A and H-2B visa programs.

Meanwhile, Mongolia has been removed as an eligible country for the H-2A visa program as it no longer meets the regulatory standards for that program.

“DHS maintains its authority to add countries to the eligible countries list at any time, and to remove any country at the time it publishes a new list, should DHS and DOS determine that a country fails to meet the requirements for continued designation,” the DHS said.

Examples of factors that could result in the exclusion of a country or the removal of a country from the list include, but are not limited to, fraud, abuse, denial rates, overstay rates, human trafficking concerns, and other forms of non-compliance with the terms and conditions of the H-2 visa programs by nationals of that country.

US to require negative Covid test

from int'l travelers

By Keith Calayag, TMT, January 10, 2021

January 13, 2021, 8:22 am PNA
   

 

WASHINGTON – The US will require all passengers traveling to the country on international flights to test negative for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) starting January 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Tuesday.

"Variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world, and there is evidence of increased transmissibility of some of these variants," the CDC said in a statement. "With the US already in surge status, the testing requirement for air passengers will help slow the spread of the virus as we work to vaccinate the American public."

"Air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within the three days before their flight to the US departs and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from Covid-19," it added.

The agency said airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers and if a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.

"Testing does not eliminate all risk," CDC Director Robert Redfield said. "But when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations."

As of late Tuesday, the US had more than 22.7 million coronavirus cases and nearly 380,000 deaths, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. (Anadolu)

Fil-Am mother is missing in Chula Vista, California

 

INQUIRER.net US Bureau / 11:21 AM January 15, 2021

 

Searchers are looking for Maya “May” Millete, a Filipino American mother of three in Chula Vista, California, who has been missing for a week.

Millete, 39, was last seen Thursday evening, Jan. 11, in her Chula Vista home near the San Miguel Ranch area, according to her loved ones. Her car is still at her residence and her phone has been going to voicemail since her disappearance.


Searchers are looking for Maya “May” Millete, a Filipino American mother of three in Chula Vista, California, who has been missing for a week.

Millete, 39, was last seen Thursday evening, Jan. 11, in her Chula Vista home near the San Miguel Ranch area, according to her loved ones. Her car is still at her residence and her phone has been going to voicemail since her disappearance.


She is 5-feet-2-inches tall, weighs about 105 pounds, has brown hair and eyes and freckles. She has a wrist tattoo.

Millete has three children, aged 4, 9 and 11. Her family had been planning a birthday party set for this past weekend for her oldest child at Big Bear Lake, near San Diego.


Her kin thought she was just blowing off steam in her locked bedroom after an argument with her husband the day before. They have contacted hospitals, jails and morgues, but she hasn’t been found in those locations. They have organized a search party to look for her.

Police are not yet treating her disappearance as a criminal case, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The Chula Vista police created a missing person case for Millete and have a detective working to find her

.

Anyone who has seen Millete or who knows of her whereabouts is urged to contact the Chula Vista Police Department at (619) 691-5151 and refer to case number 21-00932. Millete’s family can also be contacted here and appreciate any tips the public can offer.
 

© Philippine Sentinel 2021

The First Filipino-American Community Newspaper in Texas Since 1987

Opinions expressed herein are those of the bloggers and do not 

necessarily reflect the position of The Philippine Sentinel.

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