Expressway in the Province(s)

During my recent trip to Pampanga and Zambales, I felt the convenience of using the new expressway: The Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).

Coming from Nueva Ecija, it usually takes us about six to eight hours just to go to Botolan, Zambales. Thanks to SCTEx, the travel time was almost cut in half, mainly because we do not have to traverse towns and city propers - usually traffic-clogged areas.

It is ninety-four kilometers, starting from Tarlac going through Pampanga province and ends in Subic Bay Free Port in Zambales. There are also exits going to Clark in Angeles City, Pampanga. Both Subic and Clark are formerU.S. military bases (Naval Base and Air Base respectively) in the Philippines now converted into Freeport and Economic Zones.

At least I finally see a portion of people's taxes working for our benefit. Or just mere government loan from internation financing institution, further drowning Filipinos with obligations. I'm just not so sure if the construction price is doubled or tripled just like what I've heard with other government contracts. Well, at least it is a solid infrastructure that, we, people in the province will definitely benefit from.

Aside from the convenience of faster trip, SCTEx also offers breath-taking view of the hills, the farm and the clouds. Entranced by the views, I tried to capture some photos during the trip. Some hills (or mountains) has to give in for the construction of this expressway.
From our province, it is now easier and faster for us to go to Pampanga or Zambales . I hope we can visit our relatives there more frequently.

To my surprise, my trip yesterday (Monday) to Manila also utilized SCTEX and made our travel a lot faster. The route will be Cabanatuan-Tarlac-Pampanga and then Manila. I believe it is longer in terms of distance, but shorter in time because we did not go through Gapan and Bulacan where there's a lot of heavy traffic and even bottlenecks.

From SCTEx we took Northern Luzon Expressway or NLEX. The travel is almost hte same as taking freeways in the USA now! I'm so thankful for these freeways, I mena expressways in the Philippines! It makes our travel a lot faster!

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In my search for the good news regarding this expressway,

I happen to come accross this article that I would like to share:

PGMA inaugurates Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway

INFRASTRUCTURE CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Pampanga – As a vital component of her super regions strategy aimed at developing the country's provinces into new centers of tourism, business and industry, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo inaugurated today the newly-constructed Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) designed to serve as an economic backbone for growth areas north of Manila.

The President took an inaugural drive-through a portion of the SCTEX signalling the soft opening of the 94-kilometer highway that will provide better and faster access to the Subic Bay Freeport in Zambales and the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.
This soft opening, according to the President, covers the Subic-Clark portion of the SCTEX, which is some 50 kilometers long.

Built at (here you go....) a cost of P27 billion, of which P23.06 billion was funded through a loan grant from the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) and the rest shouldered by the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), the SCTEX, which is a major component of the Luzon Urban Beltway, serves as a critical link to vital business corridors in Central Luzon such as the Subic seaport in Zambales and the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in Pampanga.

Other economic zones within Subic, Clark and Tarlac areas are also expected to benefit greatly with the opening of the SCTEX.With its completion, SCTEX will now open up more job opportunities for residents in these areas as more industries and facilities are expected to put up businesses such as transportation, communications, banking and food services as well as labor-intensive and service-oriented industries.
To the business locators, the SCTEX enhances growth in commerce and industry in the region, spurs more opportunities for the import-export industries and attracts more players in medical tourism and call center services.More importantly, the SCTEX ensures faster delivery of goods and services by cutting travel time to and from the centers of business because of excellent road condition.

The previous one-and-a-half hours travel time from Clark to Subic now only takes 40 minutes, while the usual one hour needed to travel from Clark to Tarlac has been reduced to just 25 minutes.In time for the Lenten break, the SCTEX will have a "Libreng Biyahe sa SCTEX Program" with the theme "Handog ni Pangulong Gloria, Libreng Biyahe sa SCTEX" for light vehicles from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. after today’s soft opening and from 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from March 19 to 24.

The President enjoined all Filipinos to take advantage of the free toll at the SCTEX which, she said, will greatly ease travel expenses for family travelling up north."Biyahe na!," the President exclaimed after opening the toll-free expressway.


(Excerpts taken from the Philippine government portal: http://www.gov.ph)


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