The infrastructure gap in the Philippines has grown so big that it will now require a long-term plan to bridge it.
The Transportation Department is finally offering a solution to the problem—a 30-year plan to enable the Philippines to catch up with its neighbors.
“We are actually looking at developing a 30-year transportation plan which we hope to be legislated so that the transportation plan will not be subjected to changes in any administration to provide a sustainable and stable plan for infrastructure development for 30 years,” Transport Undersecretary for planning Rommel Gavieta said.
The Philippines, according to the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report from 2013 to 2014, the Philippines ranked 98 in the overall quality of infrastructure compared with its Asian neighbors.
The Philippines was behind Singapore at 5th place; Malaysia, 25th; Thailand, 61st; Indonesia, 82nd; and Vietnam, 110th.
In order to address infrastructure deficit in the country, the government plans to increase infrastructure spending from a low 5 percent to a high of 7 percent of the gross domestic product.
The government, though the Transportation Department, also plans to speed uo the approval and implementation of public-private partnership projects that are now in the pipeline at the National Economic and Development Authority.
Gavieta said the agency was looking at accelerating the rollout of the Bus Rapid Transit in Cebu and Metro Manila.
The Transport Department earlier awarded the contract to design and supervise the construction of the P9-billion bus rapid transit project in Cebu province to Kunhwa Engineering & Consulting Co. Ltd
The project would entail building segregated BRT bus-ways from Bulacao to Ayala, with a link to the South Road Property, a feeder service between Ayala and Talamban with signal priority, 33 stations to service 330,000 people per day in 2015, 176 buses, an area stop light control for the entire Cebu City and a central transport control room.
Once completed, the project can field 433,000 individual trips per day, resulting in savings of 25 minutes of travel time and P7.50 in fares.
The government is also bidding out the extension of LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension from Bacoor to Dasmarinas, which will serve around 400,000 passengers.
The joint venture of Ayala Corp and Metro Pacific Investments Corp.—Light Rail Manila Consortium—earlier won the LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension Project.
Under the concession, LRMC will assume the operations and maintenance of the existing 20-kilometer LRT1 and construct the 11.7-kilometer extension of the rail line southward from the Baclaran station all the way to Bacoor, Cavite.
Gavieta said the LRT Line 1 extension project hopes to take out some 350,000 passengers from using the road networks from the part of Cavite going to Metro Manila.
He added the development of a commuter rail from Tutuban in Manila to Calamba in Laguna would take out around 400,000 passengers from using the South Luzon Expressway.
The commuter rail will also be extended from Calamba, Laguna to Batangas City and from Legazpi to Matnog, Sorsogon.
The Transportation Department is also set to bid out P108.2 billion worth of regional airport projects under PPP scheme.
The five provincial airports in the PPP bundle are the P20.26-billion Bacolod-Silay International Airport and the P30.4-billion Iloilo International Airport under package 1, and the P14.62-billion Laguindingan Airport, P2.34-billion New Bohol (Panglao) Airport and P40.57-billion Davao International Airport under package 2.
In its first meeting under the administration of President Duterte, the Neda Board approved nine projects worth P171.14 billion.
These projects were the P37.- billion Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit-EDSA; P74.6 billion Ninoy Aquino International Airport PPP Project; P4.8-billion increase in passenger terminal building area of the Bicol International Airport; and the P7.4-billion New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project.
Other projects include the P8-billion Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the Philippine Coast Guard Phase II; P2.2-billion Metro Manila Flood Management Project Phase 1; P2.4-billion Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center Modernization Project; P2.2-billion Modernisation of Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital Project; and the P10.2-billion Inclusive Partnership for Agricultural Competiveness of the Department of Agrarian Reform.
“Once implemented and completed, these approved projects will help attain or medium-and long-term development gaols of making the agricultural sector competitive, improving mobility by making our transport system safer and more efficient, increasing disaster resiliency and improving health services,” Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said.