The Philippines is spending more than P700 billion this year until 2025 to build more railway infrastructure projects in Luzon and Mindanao to address traffic woes in the country, an official of the Department of Transportation said Wednesday.
Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said in a virtual briefing the programmed capital expenditure for 11 railway projects would amount to P90.75 billion this year, P278.27 billion in 2022, P222.74 billion in 2023, P104.10 billion in 2024 and P45.47 billion in 2025.
He said these rail projects are the Light Rail Transit Line 1 Cavite Extension Project, LRT 2 East Extension, LRT 2 West Extension, Metro Rail Transit Line 3 Rehabilitation, MRT 4 Project, Metro Manila Subway, Common Station, North-South Commuter Railway, Subic-Clark Railway, PNR South Long Haul Project and the Mindanao Railway Project.
Batan said the country’s railway projects would be largely funded by official development assistance from foreign agencies led by Japan for International Cooperation Agency amounting to P796.58 billion.
It is followed by Asian Development Bank which is providing P444.60 billion in ODA; Chinese government, P307.04 billion; Public-Private Partnership, P107.76 billion; and GAA-funded, P13.07 billion.
Batan said that once most railway projects were completed in 2022, the total route length of the country’s railway will increase to 1,209 kilometers from just 77 km. in 2016.
The country’s railway length of 77 km is the shortest among major Asian cities including Jakarta’s 170.2 km., Seoul’s 490 km., Tokyo’s 700 km. and Shanghai’s 690 km.
Batan said the number of railway stations would also increase from 61 in 2016 to 168 stations by 2022, while the number of trains would increase to 1,381 from 224 trains.
He said these railway infrastructure projects would help the country’s economy to “bounce back” from COVID-19 crisis and resolve the country’s traffic woes.
Batan said the annual direct economic cost of congestion in the Greater Capital Region amounted to P1.277 trillion as of 2017.
He said these railway infrastructure projects could cut the economic cost of traffic congestion by 10 percent.
The government is investing P7.74 trillion in infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program of the Duterte administration until 2022.
Private sector proponent San Miguel Corp. said it was expecting to start the full operations of MRT Line 7 by December 2022.
“Our progress for the MRT-7 project as of January 2021 was about 54 percent. We have already completed a significant amount of civil works, including the installation of bored piles, girders, foundational works on stations, and we have been installing rails or tracks. At the same time, E&M works have also advanced significantly,” SMC president Ramon Ang said earlier.
Ang said that for the project’s elevated section, some 6.2 kilometers of the target 13.5 km. was completed while for the at-grade sections, 4.8 km. of the target 6.9 km was finished. About 1.5 km. of the 1.9-km. tunnel portion was done.