Gov’t earmarks P106.3-B for railway modernization
The government plans to spend P106.3 billion to modernize the country’s railway network, that includes P34.6 billion for the first phase of the proposed Metro Manila subway project, next year.
The country’s first-ever subway and other railway projects are part of the government’s infrastructure development to improve transportation and mobility of people and goods amid the pandemic, according to President Duterte.
“As we move forward to the post-pandemic life, it is crucial to refocus our transport infrastructure programs towards building a more efficient, inclusive and resilient public transport system that complies with the minimum health and safety standards,” Duterte said in his budget message to Congress.
“Of the PhP122.9 billion budget of the DOTr (Department of Transportation), PhP 106.3 billion or 86.5 percent will finance the strengthening and modernization of the country’s rail system to help relieve the burdens of the commuting public,” he said.
Under the DOTr budget, Duterte said P34.6 billion will be set aside for the implementation of Phase 1 of the Metro Manila Subway project.
The P355-billion subway proposal is expected to have 15 stations running across Quezon City, Pasig, Makati, Taguig and Pasay. The 36-kilometer subway line, backed by Japan financing, is expected to serve 370,000 passengers daily. Partial operations with three stations are expected by 2022 while full operations were seen to start by 2025.
Aside from the country’s first-ever subway project, the President said around P58.6 billion will be used to advance the construction of the proposed North-South Commuter Railway System in 2021. The P628-billion elevated railway project, aided by a loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency and Asian Development Bank, aims to link the provinces of Laguna, Bulacan, and Pampanga.
According to the President, the government also intends to use P3.1 billion for the Metro Rail Transit-Line 3 rehabilitation and maintenance. Another P3 billion will be set aside to pursue the Philippine National Railways- South Long Haul project.
As part of the government’s digital shift, Duterte said the transportation department is also exploring the use of cashless ticket payment in rail systems in adherence in social distancing measures.
Apart from the DOTr’s rail transport program, he said the government will allocate P16.2 billion for the Land Public Transportation Program, that includes P14.8 billion for payment of right-of-way next year. Around P200 million will be used for the maritime infrastructure program “to make the most of the country’s water resources for shipment of cargoes and other crucial goods.
The transportation allocation is part of the P1.107-trillion public infrastructure program proposed in the 2021 national budget in a bid to revitalize economic growth and boost employment.
The Build Build Build program, Duterte said, is expected to generate 140,000 to 220,00 additional jobs next year.