Home » Aviation, Breaking News, Customs & Trade, Maritime, Ports/Terminals » PH President identifies infra projects in first SONA

ID-100388731President Rodrigo Duterte said the government will accelerate infrastructure spending to improve national roads and bridges and pursue inter-island linkage and rail projects to build up the country’s transportation system.

In his first State of the Nation Address on July 25, Duterte said infrastructure projects in the pipeline include implementation of road network plans and the Mindanao Logistics Infrastructure Network, an initiative to reduce logistic costs in the region by improving roads to key ports and other production areas.

The Duterte administration earlier announced an increase in infrastructure spending this year to 7% of the country’s gross domestic product from 3%.

Rail projects in Metro Manila and in major key points in the country, such as the Mindanao Rail Project, will also be pursued.

“I assure you because it’s going to materialize—rail projects, the Davao Transit System, the Cebu Transit System, the North and South Luzon Railways and the Panay Railways project,” Duterte said in his address.

To address the lack of road infrastructure in Metro Manila, usage of existing roads will be maximized. This entails cooperation and coordination with local government units to map out secondary routes and consultation with various stakeholders, including public transport operators, the president said.

Duterte also said they are eyeing the revival of the Pasig River Ferry Service System, as “a viable option for the severe traffic congestion in Metro Manila” and an alternative mode of transportation for those coming from the east and going to Manila, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Taguig, Marikina, and Quezon City.

Additionally, the anti-colorum campaign and out-of-line apprehension efforts, including the removal of terminals, will be intensified and carried out immediately, Duterte noted.

Emergency powers

The president once again asked Congress to pass a law granting him emergency powers to address traffic and transportation problems in Metro Manila.

“Many in government opine realistically, and I would have to agree, that the worsening traffic situation could be logically addressed, if Congress would also accord emergency powers to the agencies concerned,” Duterte said.

“If you (Congress) give it, fine. If you don’t, we take the longer route—slowly,” he pointed out. Bills granting Duterte the special authority have already been filed in both houses of the 17th Congress, which formally opened on July 25.

One such use of the emergency powers is to speed up procurement of additional trains for the mass rail system in Metro Manila.

For the short term, Duterte said the transport department targets increasing the speed of rail trains in Metro Manila to 60 kilometers per hour and extending operations of Light Rail Transit Line 1 to absorb more passengers.

Earlier, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade listed several short- and medium-term projects to address transportation woes while waiting for emergency powers from Congress.

Aviation

For the air sector, Duterte said different approaches are being considered to decongest the country’s main gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which include the possible transfer of general aviation or non-commercial aircraft operations to Sangley Point in Cavite.

A one-stop shop will also be established within the civil aviation complex to serve overseas Filipino workers.

Clark International Airport (CRK), meanwhile, “can be utilized to shift some operations of our domestic and international airlines,” Duterte noted. The President said this will necessitate construction of a fast train to CRK from Manila that would have a travel time of just 30 minutes. – Roumina Pablo

Image courtesy of MrWildLife at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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