MANILA – Weeks before the Duterte administration ends, MRT, PNR, LRT administrations gave a list of developments the public can expect and the incoming administration may continue under the Build, Build, Build program.
Some of them will be delivered before June 30, while some are poised to be continued by the incoming Marcos administration.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON/ BEFORE JUNE 30
Good news to passengers of MRT-3 – free rides are extended until June 30.
"This aims to continue helping our commuters ease the financial burden dahil sa taas ng ating inflation and rising fuel prices," MRT-3 general manager Michael Capati said in a virtual press conference Wednesday.
The Philippine National Railways (PNR) is also set to open its San Pablo- Lucena line on June 30, 2022, which would mean travel time between San Pablo, Laguna and Lucena, Quezon will be shortened up to 1 hour and 30 minutes, charging P1.07 per kilometer, with 55-65 kilometers in between.
"Any time soon we will be ready to operate and extend our service all the way to Lucena, we are looking at the service if we can open the San Pablo to Makati Service and the inter-Lucena service before June 30, 2022," PNR general manager Junn Magno said.
"The proposed operation is part of our strategic objective on the social impact of railways and to bring value and relevance to the service to our underserve clientele, lalo na ’yung corridor between San Pablo and Lucena. Traffic has been really bad and they have no means of undertaking mass transport, lalo na ’yung mga underpriviledged natin na passengers."
Meanwhile, facilities of LRT Line 2 were also improved according to LRTA administrator Jeremy Regino, with eight more operational train cars expected next week.
"This is in preparation for the projected and incoming opening of classes, the face to face opening of classes. We have commissioned additional 8 car trains, and also in the event of a surge, the 8 additional operational car trains will be of great help in contributing to social distancing in our passenger trains,” Regino said.
Their elevators, escalators and rest rooms were enhanced or repaired.
"As to the elevators … As of today (Thursday), we already have 35 out of 40 elevators in Line 2 … We also conducted immediate repair works at the revenue line and ongoing right now is the repair of our roofing system in our stations," Regino added.
UNFINISHED RAIL PROJECTS
According to the DOTr, some of the projects that are still in the works include LRT 2 West Extension, Mindanao Railway Project, MRT 4 and Subic Clark Railway.
"For LRT-2 West Extension … We have already awarded the consultancy contract for this. The design built for the contractor, we have already prepared the designs, the bidding documents are actually ready and we are just working on some internal compliance requirements and documentation with the DBM and we are expecting to publish this within the year for the contractor’s contract package," DOTr Undersecretary for Railways TJ Batan said.
Meanwhile, a loans issue continue to stall the Subic Clark and Mindanao Railway projects.
"Subic Clark Rail Project … We already completed the procurement for this, we have a contract with the Chinese contractor. Currently, together with the Department of Finance, we are working on the loan … As soon as we get that loan arranged, then construction will start full blast," Batan said.
While there are "ongoing construction works" with Subic Clark Rail, construction for Mindanao Railway has not yet begun.
"As soon as we get that loan arranged, works for Mindanao Rail will progress," the DOTr Undersecretary added.
"Since we have not received the shortlist of design-build contractors yet from the China side, we are unable to proceed with the construction as originally scheduled … There’s (an) ongoing review and request by the Philippines’ side to China’s side for this shortlist of contractors and we are hoping that this list is provided soon," Batan added.
The DOTr hopes that the incoming Marcos administration will continue the projects started by the outgoing president.
"We give deference to the new administration, their projects and program priorities but at least what we will try to do is to transition these projects the best we can… so that the decision can be made by the next administration accordingly," he said.
But Batan is banking on earlier statements from Marcos Jr. about the Build, Build, Build program.
"Presumptive elect president (sic) Bongbong Marcos has noted that the Build Build Build program is one of those programs that is intended not only to be continued but expanded, so we are hopeful that the current pipeline that we have in the railways sector will be continued by the incoming administration," Batan added.
Department of Transportation, DOTr, railways, infrastructure, Build Build Build, Rodrigo Duterte, Bongbong Marcos