DOTr 2020 budget up 53%; rail projects dominate

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has been granted a budget of P83.065 billion for 2020, up 53% from itsP54.240-billion budget in 2019.

The bulk of the 2020 budget will be for operations, mostly capital outlay for projects amounting to P70.127 billion, while the remaining P12.938 billion will be for support of operations and general administration, according to the 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA) recently signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Of the more than P70-billion budget for operations, 88% or P61.436 billion is for the rail management program. This budget is 135% higher than the P26.156-billion budget last year. The current budget will be allocated for the construction, rehabilitation, and improvement of railway infrastructure projects, including the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) Project; Light Rail Transit Line 1 Cavite Extension Project; Metro Manila Subway Project Phase 1; North-South Commuter Railway System (NSCR); Philippine National Railways (PNR) South Long Haul Project; and Mindanao Railway Project.

The motor vehicle regulatory program received the second-highest budget with P4.652 billion or 6.6% of the total budget for operations. This is likewise higher by 113.8% fromthe P2.176-billion budget in 2019. The budget will be used for the motor vehicle registration system, law enforcement and adjudication, motor vehicle recognition and enhancement system, Land Transportation Office (LTO) Central Command Center, Information Technology Training Hub, and Road Safety Advocacy Project, among others.

The budget for the aviation infrastructure program accounted for 3.5% of the total, but the amount of P2.446 billion is 36.8% smaller than the P3.869-billion budget in 2019. Aviation projects included in the GAA involve the construction, rehabilitation, and improvement of airports, particularly those in Tuguegarao, Catbalogan, General Santos, Mapun, Bukidnon, Laguindingan, Sangley, Virac, Ormoc, Antique, and San Jose (Mindoro).

The land public transportation program received P1.021 billion or 1.5% of the total budget, 55% less than last year’s P2.289-billion budget.

The maritime infrastructure program was allocated the lowest budget at P572.506 million, 68% lower than P1.787-billion last year. This will be used for the construction of the Agoo (La Union) Multi-purpose Port, Brgy. Pag-asa (Palawan) Port, Brgy. 3 (Albay) Port, San Jose (Camarines Sur) Port, and capital outlay for the New Cebu International Container Port.

In addition to the main budget, the 2020 GAA has special provisions for several other programs of DOTr.

A budget will also be allocated for the payment of right-of-way to allow implementation of several projects including the Mindanao Railway Project, Kalibo International Airport, Roxas Airport, Dumaguete Airport, Calbayog Airport, Ipil Airport, ZamboangaAiport, Mati Airport, M’lang Airport, NSCR System, Metro Manila Subway Project Phase 1, PNR South Long Haul, and New Cebu International Container Port.

A budget of P66.738 million is allocated for the LTO to implement provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 8750 (Seat Belts Use Act of 1999) and RA 11229 (Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act) onpromoting the use of seat belts and child restraint systems.

The budget for the payment of prior and the current years’ obligations for equity rental, maintenance fees, and other obligations due the Metro Rail Transit Corporation will be charged against the fare box revenue and all non-rail collections or income of MRT-3.

For 2020, DOTr’s performance targets under the GAA include a 15% decrease in passenger travel time and flight delays, 5% increase in passenger traffic, and 2% improvement in air cargo volumes. For maritime, targets include a 5% increase in passenger traffic and another 5% increase in vessel traffic.