posted June 30, 2017 at 12:01 am
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday approved nine flagship infrastructure projects that would cost over P738.08 billion in his bid to put the Philippines close to the economic progress achieved by the country’s neighbors in Southeast Asia.
Finishing the mega projects before the end of President Duterte’s term may be an impossible task, but laying the groundwork and starting their construction sooner than later will already be an achievement for a country that has neglected infrastructure for so long.
Majority of the projects approved by the board of the National Economic and Development Authority headed by President Duterte himself are rail networks designed to decongest traffic and improve connectivity. The Philippines, for the first time, will also build a more efficient subway rail system that could extend beyond the capital region to San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan province in the north and Dasmariñas City, Cavite in the south.
Railways, including one being planned in the Tagum-Davao-Digos area in Mindanao, will provide a faster and more reliable transportation system. They can transport people as well as crops to their destination and market without traffic normally encountered on roads.
They also open new economic opportunities along the towns and cities where the railway tracks will pass through. Take the case of the P211.4-billion Malolos-Clark Railway Project (PNR North 2) of the Department of Transportation. The project aims to build a commuter line and airport express railway between Malolos and Clark Green City through Clark International Airport. New businesses and livelihood opportunities are expected to rise along the Malolos-Clark route once the railway is completed. Jobs away from Metro Manila will be created along the new railway corridor.
The Transportation Department as the lead agency in these railway projects must act fast and waste no time in the construction of these projects. The so-called golden age of infrastructure in the Philippines cannot be done overnight. But doing the spadework at once will start the ball rolling.
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