MANILA – Almost PhP1-trillion worth of infrastructure projects that will improve the country’s rail, airport and mass transit systems are already in the pipeline, according to Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Undersecretary Rene Limcaoco.
Senator Paolo Benigno ‘Bam’ Aquino III said on Thursday Limcaoco informed the senators in a Senate hearing that around PhP890 billion worth of rail and other mass transit projects will create nine additional lines and three additional terminals, accommodating an additional 2.2 million passengers daily.
”The projects will establish 140 additional passenger stations and 120 kilometers of additional road and rail mass transit that will cut down average travel time from two-and-a-half hours to just one hour,” Senator Aquino said in a press statement.
According to Limcaoco, the government will earmark about PhP77.47 billion for the expansion and modernization of the country’s main airports, including international airports in Manila, Clark, Cebu, Davao, Bohol, Laguindingan, Puerto Princesa, Iloilo and Bacolod.
When asked by Aquino about the timelines of these projects, Limcaoco said the rail and other mass transit projects will be completed in the next five years while the airport projects will be finished in three years.
“It is important for the public to be aware of these programs so we can ensure and monitor that these plans will be completed at the soonest possible time,” Aquino said.
While acknowledging the long-term programs to improve the transportation infrastructure, Aquino asked government agencies not to overlook the current user experience of the public in airports and train stations.
“While we need to ensure on the progress of these development projects to make sure that we reach these timelines, it is also important to look at the current experiences of our passengers and commuters in our airports and trains,” Aquino said, referring to the long queues in airports and train stations.
While he’s aware of security concerns, Aquino said concerned government agencies must come up with a better process that can be comfortable to passengers.
”The same goes for our train riders, who have to endure the heat of the sun or rain while waiting in line. This is a big inconvenience that needs to be immediately solved,” he said.
Aquino has filed Senate Resolution No. 1115 calling for an inquiry to look into the prioritization of transportation infrastructure projects and the efficiency of systems management in seaports, airports, expressways and national roads.