Going around the Metro
A few days before the New Year, while the traffic flow was relatively smooth, this footloose went around Calabarzon to see for myself how people and businesses were doing in the area just south of Metro Manila.
The long Christmas weekend saw citizens trooping to Tagaytay City, pushing the gridlock to Aguinaldo Highway which some kibitzers described as an EDSA extension. Local government officials tried to redirect the traffic—one-way on some parts passing through Mahogany in a bid to ease the congestion.
For those who have yet to finish their shopping or still have some money to spare, the Acienda—an all outlet shopping paradise in Silang, offers up to 70-percent discount. It seemed like unemployment was not a problem, as shoppers were all around the area. The “deep discount attracted buyers from Metro Manila,” a shop owner explained. Remember the controversial denim pants that Gen. Bato de la Rosa wore in one of those committee hearings? One can purchase a pair at P11k, down from P25k.
On the other side, people opt to avoid the Sta. Rosa area because the traffic there is unpredictable—sometimes light, sometimes a standstill.
Meanwhile, the Skyway 3 partially opened on Tuesday, December 29, providing motorists a smooth ride. Traversing the 18-kilometer expressway, described to be the longest elevated expressway, took less than 20 minutes from Makati to Quezon City. It is a free access for motorists for a month, as announced by San Miguel Corp. president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang or RSA.
Skyway 3 is expected to be an important stimulus for economic growth after the pandemic, according to RSA. For now, motorists are allowed to use up to four lanes of the stretch but these will expand to seven lanes by January 14.
Another kind-hearted corporate is the Philippine National Bank which announced that it’s extending the waiver of fees for InstaPay and PesoNet Fund transfer fees up until the end of the first quarter.
“PNB fully supports the Bangko Sentral’s call to promote digital channels for fund transfers. We continue to strengthen our campaign on encouraging more customers to use digital banking since the start of the community quarantine. We see digital banking is gaining ground as customers learn more about the benefits of these services. This extension will encourage more customers to use digital channels,” Wick Veloso, the bank president, said.
In pursuit of its mission of financial inclusion, BSP is allowing banks and other financial lenders to set-up digital banks nationwide, which would, hopefully, serve the unbanked sector.
The dawning of the New Year is giving us renewed hope from all the difficulties, heart aches and everything but the kitchen sink that the year 2020 threw at us.
Cheers to 2021.
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