MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) plans to spend P100.6 billion for the construction, rehabilitation, and improvement of railways in the Philippines in 2020.
“This is 5 times the P19.9-billion allocation this year for the same purpose. The bulk of the spending, or P84.8 billion, is meant for North-South Commuter Railway System,” said Makati City 2nd District Representative Luis Campos Jr, House appropriations committee vice-chairperson.
The North-South Commuter Railway System is a 147-kilometer, 36-station elevated railway project that will run from Calamba, Laguna to New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac. It is the biggest project so far under President Rodrigo Duterte’s centerpiece infrastructure program Build, Build, Build, with the total project cost amounting to $12.03 billion* (P627.18 billion). (READ: Philippines, Japan sign $1.54-billion loan deal on North-South Railway)
Other railway projects that will be funded by the proposed budget are the Metro Manila Subway Project Phase 1 (P9.8 billion), Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 Rehabilitation Project (P5 billion), South Long-Haul Project (P878 million), Mindanao Railway Project (P97 million), and LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension Project (P74 million).
The Philippine National Railways and the South Long Haul Project are part of the 6 deals signed by Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping during their bilateral meeting on August 29.
The Department of Budget (DBM) proposed a P4.1-trillion National Expenditure Program for 2020. The DOTr gets the 7th biggest allocation under the proposed budget at P147 billion, while the Department of Public Works and Highways gets the second biggest share at P534.3 billion. (READ: 2020 budget priorities: Infrastructure, social services, peace and security)
*$1 = P52.24