Thursday, July 24, 2008 [ sunstar.com.ph }
THE Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) will launch on Thursday its "Greening SCTEX Program," which aims to plant about 20,000 trees along the 94-kilometer (km) toll road in five years.
The state-owned firm will initially plant 2,000 Narra trees along the Clark North B Interchange in Barangay Dolores, Mabalacat, Pampanga.
About 500 volunteers, represented by the BCDA, Clark Development Corporation (CDC), Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and non-government organizations have signified their intention to participate in the five-year tree planting program which seeks to promote the preservation of indigenous tree species; foster a healthier ecology along the expressway and; enhance the toll road's aesthetic value.
Expected to lead the toll road's pre-opening ceremonies are DENR Secretary Lito Atienza, Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura, and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) chairman Hiroshi Togo.
Other officials expected to attend the event include Clark Area Development Council (SCADC) chairman Edgardo Pamintuan and Presidential Assistant for Central Luzon and deputy presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo. BCDA chairman Aloysius Santos and president and chief executive officer Narciso Abaya will lead in welcoming the guests.
The tree planting program foresees forging partnerships with corporations and other organizations to adopt a kilometer of the 94-km stretch of SCTEX for planting trees.
The remaining 32-kilometer closed portion of SCTEx is set to officially start toll operations at 12:01 a.m. Friday.
This signals the opening of the entire 94 kilometers of SCTEX, the country's longest expressway.
"The opening of the entire 94-km SCTEX will bring us closer to realizing the vision of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in developing Clark and Subic as the best international service and logistic centers in the region," Abaya said.
On April 28, the BCDA opened for commercial operations 62 kilometers of SCTEX that include the entire 50.5 kms Subic-Clark segment and 11.5 kms of the 43.27-km Clark-Tarlac segment.
With the opening of the remaining 32 kilometers of the Clark-Tarlac segment, motorists from Manila can now take SCTEX via a seamless connection from North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and exit in Concepcion, San Miguel or Tarlac City. It would only take about 25 minutes for motorists to travel to Tarlac City from the Clark Logistics Toll Plaza.
Motorists will find it more convenient to use SCTEX on their way to the north especially Pangasinan, Baguio, La Union and Ilocos saving on time and fuel.
Based on the approved rates, Class 1 vehicles entering SCTEX from the Clark Logistics Plaza will pay P32 if they exit in Concepcion; P60 in San Miguel; and P69 in Tarlac City.
Likewise, Class I vehicles traveling the entire stretch of SCTEX from Subic Bay to Tarlac City will pay the maximum toll fee of P181; Subic Bay to San Miguel, P172; and Subic Bay to Concepcion, P144.