Marcos vows to finish ongoing infrastructure projects, including Mindanao railway

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 25 2022 06:26 PM | Updated as of Jul 25 2022 07:07 PM

MANILA - President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr on Monday said he would not suspend any ongoing infrastructure project, even the stalled Mindanao railway. 

During his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), the president said infrastructure development is "a very high priority" in driving growth and employment.

Infrastructure spending will also be kept at 5 to 6 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

"Once again, I will not suspend any of the ongoing projects as those have already been shown to be of benefit to the public that they serve," Marcos said.

"My order the Department of Transportation or DOTr is very simple, full steam ahead," he added.

Public-private partnerships or PPPs will also play a crucial role in infrastructure development. Marcos' Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan also said he would reinvigorate PPPs. 

Marcos also emphasized the importance of railway projects.

"It is clear in my mind that railways offer great potential as it continues to be the cheapest way of transporting goods and passengers. We can build upon already existing lines by modernizing old railway systems," he said.

So far, there are about P1.9 trillion worth of ongoing rail projects across the country, he said.

Marcos said he is committed to finishing the current investment portfolio including the North-South Commuter Railway system, the Metro Manila Subway Project, the LRT-1 Cavite extension, and the MRT common station.

He also mentioned the Mindanao Railway Project, Panay Railway and the Cebu Railway system and BRT [bus rapid transit], among others.

A Transport official earlier said that three China-backed projects--namely the Laguna-Bicol, Subic-Clark, and Mindanao railways were stalled as China had yet to fund them. 

The official said Marcos has told them to renegotiate the infrastructure deals with China. 

Former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua earlier said there were 77 ongoing projects that are "beyond shovel ready" and a least 25 that are yet to be approved at the end of Duterte's term. 

Marcos said he would submit a comprehensive infrastructure plan to ensure investments are not wasted.

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