The Philippine Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has given the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) the go-signal for the Bicol International Airport Development Project and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) 1 North Extension Project.
The DBM said it had issued the Multi-year Obligational Authority (MYOA) in support of DOTC’s two projects.
The P4.7-billion Bicol International Airport, which is set to be completed in 2016, will be the new airport in Albay province, replacing the existing one in Legazpi City.
The LRT 1 North Extension Project, on the other hand, will connect the LRT 1 Roosevelt station to the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT3) North Avenue station, among others, and is scheduled for completion next year.
“The country’s public transportation system has long been due for an overhaul, and we’re making that happen,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said in a statement.
“To date, we’ve given the DOTC the authority to enter into multi-year contracts for the completion of their transport infrastructure projects. This is, of course, in line with our goal to ramp up infrastructure development towards rapid, sustainable, and inclusive economic expansion,” Abad said.
“The DOTC will finish the construction of the new Albay international airport by the end of President Aquino’s term,” Abad said, adding that improvements such as this will help further economic development in the Bicol region.
The DBM has already released P150 million for the project this year via the 2014 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
Of the P4.7 billion, a total of P2.1 billion had been spent from 2007 to 2012 on advance works such as earthworks, right-of-way acquisitions, access road construction, and preliminary detailed engineering.
On the other hand, the other MYOA gives the DOTC the go-ahead with the LRT 1 extension, which will include a common station that will connect LRT and MRT for easy passenger transfer. The already completed Balintawak and Roosevelt stations for LRT 1 are also part of the project.
“We understand the challenges that MRT commuters are now facing because of the improvements the government is making in Manila’s major road systems. However, these inconveniences should only be temporary, and the public can definitely expect better transport services as we work on a new interchange station linking the MRT and LRT stations.
“This initiative also ties in with the MYOA we issued last month for the contactless smartcard fare collection system. By enhancing our services, we hope to encourage more motorists to make use of our public transport systems to help ease the traffic situation in the metropolis,” Abad added.
The DOTC on March 31 awarded the automatic fare collection system (AFCS) project to winning bidder AF Consortium of the Ayala Group and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).
The total cost of the extension project is estimated at P1.4 billion, of which the budget department has already released P629 million this year, also from the 2014 GAA. Construction is expected to start by October this year.
Meanwhile, Manila North Tollways Corp., a subsidiary of MPIC, issued and listed P7 billion worth of fixed-rate bonds due 2021 and 2024 with the Philippine Dealing and Exchange Corp. on March 31.
The net proceeds from the float will be used to fund the 5.65-km Segment 10 of the North Luzon Expressway Project that will connect MacArthur Highway in Valenzuela City to C-3 Road in Caloocan City.
Construction is slated to start within April 2014.