MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte will oversee the construction of the first subway system in the capital and the first railway in Mindanao, as part of a broad infrastructure overhaul designed to sustain robust economic growth, officials said Tuesday.
“Build build build” is the cornerstone of “Dutertenomics,” which the President’s economic managers pitched as an audacious plan to transform the Philippines into a high middle-income economy by the end of his term in 2022.
Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are expected to sign an agreement for the P227-billion subway this year. Construction will be finished by 2024, two years after Duterte's term expires, said Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.
The 25-kilometer subway system will connect Quezon City to Taguig, with projected travel time at 31 minutes. It will serve around 350,000 passengers per day in its opening year, Tugade said.
“This is a very ambitious project. Give us your trust and we will build build build and complete it,” Tugade said.
Traffic congestion in Metro Manila, home to roughly a tenth of the country’s 100 million people, results in daily economic losses of P2.4 billion and the Duterte government has made solving it a priority.
The 2,000-kilometer Mindanao Railway will be the first of its kind in the south. The first phase, which will connect Tagum, Davao Del Norte to Davao City and to Digos, Davao del Sur will be completed in 2021, he said.
Also in the pipeline, according to Tugade, are the north and south branches of the Philippine National Railway.
The PNR North Railway will reduce travel time from Manila to Clark to less than an hour and is expected to be completed in 2021, he said. This project will also support the development of Clark International Airport as an alternative to the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The South Railway, which has two components, will connect Manila to Los Banos, Laguna and Manila to Bicol.
The Manila-Laguna line is expected to be completed by 2021 with a projected daily ridership of 330,000.
The 650-kilometer Manila-Bicol line is expected to finished by 2022 and will cater to 400,000 riders daily.
A 12.3-kilometer rapid bus transit system from Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC) to Manila City Hall via Elliptical Road, Quezon Avenue, and Espana Boulevard is also expected to be completed by 2019.
The BRT Line 1 is expected to serve 291,500 passengers daily in its first year of operations. The line mainly adopts a closed system with service lanes at the center, with convenient interchanges with MRT-3, PNR, LRT1, and the MRT-7 currently undergoing construction.
Road projects include the P23.3 billion North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway connector road, which starts from C3 Road in Caloocan through Manila, crossing Espana towards PUP, Sta. Mesa connecting Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3.
The completion of the SLEX-NLEX connector road, projected to take place in 2020, is expected to reduce vehicle congestion along EDSA, C5 Road and other major thoroughfares, and cut the travel time between NLEX and SLEX to 15-20 minutes from more than an hour.
To ease congestion at Manila’s airports, the government will also build a new terminal building at Clark International Airport in the fourth quarter. The terminal building is expected to be finished two years after the start of the construction.
A New Clark City will also be built. It will house a food processing terminal, an international food market, housing and an agro-indusrial park.
The government is spending 5.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2017 to finance the building, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said. This will be raised to 7.1 percent by 2022.
This is higher than the 2.6 percent annual average of the past six administrations in the last 50 years, he said.
“In the decades when we neglected our infrastructure, we lost out on competitiveness,” Dominguez said.
“This is the time to move decisively. Fortunately we have a leader capable of much audacity.”
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the government under Duterte would spend P8.4 trillion for infrastructure.
A government portal (www.build.gov.ph) was also launched to help the public guard the infrastructure projects against corruption.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the website would be regularly updated to reflect the progress of every project.