MANILA - The government has earmarked between P217 billion and P230 billion out of the proposed P2.61 trillion 2015 national budget for the development of efficient national transport infrastructure networks to sustain economic growth.
Of the total transportation budget, P174.5 billion will go to the Department of Public Works and Highways’ roads and bridges program, featuring the new construction design specifications of thicker concrete pavement.
About P7.02 billion has been set aside for infrastructure projects by the Department of Transportation and Communications covering the development of integrated transport systems for the South Coastal, northern and southern areas as well as upgrade of road transport information technology infrastructure.
The total budget is expected to reduce cost and time for transporting goods and people, thereby spurring more trade and investments in safer, faster and cheaper ways.
According to the Department of Budget and Management, the Philippines’ ranking in the quality of roads indicator in the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index has significantly improved to 87th in 2013-2014 from 114th in 2010-2011.
“The goal is to push this ranking even higher,” the DBM said.
The government will also build more airports and seaports in order to accelerate economic activity and boost employment.
Aviation-related projects were alloted a budget of P13.3 billion, 45.8 percent higher year-on-year.. These projects include the Bicol International Airport (P1.55 billion),
Puerto Princesa Airport (P1.55 billion), Clark Airport (P1.2 billion), Busuanga Airport (P1.02 billion), General Santos Airport (P959 million), Kalibo Airport (P950 million), Iloilo Airport (P791 million), Ozamis Airport (P695 million), Calbayog Airport (P678 million) and Camarines Sur Airport (P670 million) as well as the expansion of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (P592 million).
For rail projects, the government has proposed a budget of P16.85 billion to cover the extension of LRT 1 South Cavite (P4.77 billion), rehabilitation of LRT 1 and 2 (P2.82 billion), extension of LRT line 2 east extension to Masinag, (P2.4 billion), subsidy of MRT 3 (P4.66 billion), MRT 3 infrastructure (P804 million), and LRT line 2 west extension (P200 million).
The P16.85 billion subsidy for railways will enable the government to reduce transfer time by 50 percent and transport cost by 8.5 percent. It is also seen to lessen logistics costs of goods and services from 23 percent to 15 percent; reduce transport-related accidents by two percent ; and generate time savings equivalent to P54 billion.
The budget for ports development has also been increased to P1.5 billion from P1.1 billion in 2014. The amount will be used to construct, develop, repair, and rehabilitate 40 seaports.
To reinforce maritime security, the Philippine Coast Guard will be provided P3.5 billion to buy patrol vessels, which will not only enhance patrol capability but also search-and-rescue operations.