GLIMPSES & GAZES
By Severino C. Samonte
There is bright hope that the long-delayed Mindanao Avenue Extension from the North Luzon Expressway-Mindanao Avenue Toll Plaza in Ugong, Valenzuela City to Gen. Luis Street in Barangay Caybiga, Novaliches, North Caloocan City may finally be completed under the “Build Better More” Program of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos (PBBM).
This can be gleaned as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the National Housing Authority (NHA) and the Local Inter-Agency Committee of the Caloocan City government have teamed up in carrying out a full-scale demolition of the last 127 houses still standing along the right-of-way (ROW) for the vital government project in Sitio Gitna, Caybiga.
The DPWH-NHA demolition teams are being assisted by elements of the Northern Police District (NPD) from the adjacent cities of Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela (Camanava).
NHA officials said the affected families are qualified for financial assistance and housing from the NHA will be relocated to Barangay Camarin, also in Novaliches, North Caloocan. They added that they have been advising the residents affected by the road project to relocate since 2018.
Once the road right-of-way is cleared, the DPWH will continue the concreting of the six-lane, 3.2-kilometer long-Mindanao Avenue Extension Project Stage II-C of the NLEX. The project is now expected to be finished before the end of the term of Marcos.
The road project begins in the vicinity of the Metro Manila Subway Depot Station now under construction in Barangay Ugong, Valenzuela City.
When completed, the road will ease the perennial traffic problem being experienced for several years now by motorists and residents in Novaliches and other portions of northern Metro Manila.
Such acute traffic problem can best be illustrated by this road sign or notice one who is driving along the Mindanao Avenue-NLEX section from Valenzuela City toward Quezon City would not miss seeing after exiting the toll plaza: “End of Espressway. Reduce Speed Now.” Although not actually written, this can be interpreted as a warning such as: “You are approaching the traffic-prone Novaliches area.”
The DPWH said on its website that Mindanao Avenue is an eight-to-10-lane divided avenue connecting Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) and NLEX and is a part of Circumferential Road 5 (C-5) in Metro Manila.
It is one of the three parallel roads that connect Tandang Sora and Congressional Avenues. The other two are Visayas Avenue and Luzon Avenue, that is why it has been named after the southernmost mainland of the Philippines, Mindanao.
It used to be a two-kilometer highway connecting North Avenue and Congressional Avenue, but as a part of the C-5 project, Mindanao Avenue was extended to EDSA in the south and to Quirino Highway in Novaliches in the north. These additional roads were opened in 2000.
Another road also named Mindanao Avenue starts at Commonwealth Avenue in Barangay Sta. Monica and terminates at a dead end at the School of Saint Anthony in Barangay Greater Lagro, Novaliches.
Meanwhile, residents, motorists and daily commuters from Novaliches are renewing their appeal to the DPWH to resume the extension of Visayas Avenue to Novaliches to ease the perennial traffic problem in the area.
The extension project was started in 2011 by the DPWH-National Capital Region (DPWH-NCR), in coordination with the Quezon City First Engineering District. It was, however, halted by right-of-way problems along certain areas.
The road will pass through portions of Barangays Tandang Sora, Pasong Tamo near Himlayang Pilipino Memorial Park, cross the proposed Republic Avenue in Barangays Sauyo and Holy Spirit, cross Tuliahan River near Barangay Sta. Lucia before joining with Commonwealth Avenue, Regalado Avenue, Mindanao Avenue and Quirino Highway in Fairview.
Visayas Avenue was one of the six major routes planned to emanate from the Quezon Memorial Circle-Elliptical Road in the 1950s.