[PHOTO AT LEFT - President Arroyo congratulates Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Bayani Fernando following the opening of the ‘Metro Padyakan’ bike lane and walkway project at Katipunan Avenue and Esteban Abada street in Xavierville Subdivision, Quezon City yesterday morning. At right is Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr., who attended the affair with other city officials. Photo By WILLY PERP>]

MANILA, September 24, 2005 (STAR) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo launched today Metro Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) P362.5-million Metro Walk and Pedal Way Pilot Project, an energy conservation measure that would encourage the use of bicycles as an alternative mode of transportation and promote a healthy lifestyle.

The President arrived at 10:00 a.m. at the corner of Katipunan Avenue and Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City and was welcomed by national and local officials led by MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla, Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte, Marikina City Mayor Marides Fernando, and former Environment Secretary Elisea Gozun.

The President was briefed by the MMDA chairman on the status of the project dubbed "Metro Padyakan" which would provide safety to cyclists and pedestrians alike, aside from promoting the use of an environment-friendly mode of transportation.

Although it was raining, the President walked across Katipunan Avenue to Esteban Abada Street where she led the painting of a bike lane road marker and unveiled a bike lane road sign, before sending off some 100 cyclists on the initial 3.6-kilometer bike lane route.

The initial bicycle route runs from Katipunan Avenue up to Col. Salgado Street near Kamias Road, passing through Esteban Abada Street, Xavierville Avenue and Anonas Street.

Similar bike lane routes will be established between Roces Avenue going to Timog Avenue and Quezon Memorial Circle, Timog Avenue to Quezon Avenue, West Avenue to Balintawak through E. delos Santos Avenue (EDSA), Quezon Memorial Circle to Congressional Avenue, University Avenue to Visayas Avenue and Maharlika to Katipunan Avenue.

The MMDA’s 200-kilometer network of walkways and bike lanes that would be established along secondary routes would interlink the 14 cities and three municipalities of Metro Manila between North Caloocan and Muntinlupa City.

The project has a total cost of P362.5 million and is estimated to be finished by 2010. It was conceived as one of the government’s energy and environment-friendly conservation measures amidst the rising oil prices in the world market.

The MMDA chairman said the project will also help reduce the level of air and noise pollution in the metropolis

Statement of Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye

[PHOTO AT LEFT (courtesy of THE STAR) CON-COM: Members of the consultative commission to amend the 1987 Constitution pose for photographers during a fellowship and informal meeting at Malacañang’s Premier Guest House. Photo By Willy Perez

Newsbit: For personal reasons, Ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco has declined his nomination as member of the Consultative Commission.

Gonzales' heart suffering from lack of oxygen supply -- PHC Doctors

Doctors at the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) have recommended that further tests be immediately conducted on National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales to prevent a possible heart attack or a stroke.

Secretary Gonzales, a diabetic, was rushed to the PHC last Wednesday after complaining of low sugar count and high blood pressure while attending a Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing on the controversial Venable LLP lobby contract.

The PHC issued a recommendation on Friday that "coronary and cerebral arteriography with possibility of coronary angioplasty and stenting" be conducted on Gonzales on Monday, Sept. 26.

Those who signed the certification were PHC director Dr. Ludgerio Torres, PHC assistant director Dr. Jose Yulde, and Dr. Jose Navarro, the chief of the Neurological Intensive Care Unit of the PHC.

Torres said Gonzales "has a positive treadmill stress test for myocardial schemia, which means that the heart is suffering from lack of oxygen supply to the heart muscle due to occlusion or blockage of the arteries supplying nutrition to the heart muscle."

He also said that during a strenuous exercise or stressful situation, the heart of Gonzales is overworked and needs more oxygen.

"If the oxygen supply will be inadequate, the heart may suffer stoppage or what we call heart attack," Torres said.

According to Torres, Secretary Gonzales has to undergo coronary angiogram (arteriography) to visualize the block or occlusion in the arteries.

If necessary, Torres said, Gonzales would also undergo coronary angioplasty and stenting, a procedure that opens blocked arteries and allows blood to flow to prevent a stroke.

"If there is a block, this will be widened by a catheter (angioplasty) and a stent will be placed to prevent (the arteries from) narrowing again," Torres said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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