DOTC bares P5 billion Infrastructure Plan

Department of Transportation and Communications secretary Man­uel Roxas II has unveiled a 5-year P565 billion infrastructure plan including the continuation of the controversial North Rail project.

Speaking before a briefing organized by the Makati Business Club recently, Roxas said the project is aimed at providing reliable, safe, and affordable public transportation sys­tem nationwide.

The projects, meanwhile, include the 11.7 km LRT 1 Baclaran to Cavite and the LRT 2 Santolan, Pasig to Masinag, Antipolo ex­tension rail projects; the re-configured North Rail project; the establishment of internation­al airports in Puerto Princesa, Laguindigan, Misamis Oriental and Panglao, Bohol; the de­velopment of ports in Davao, and the roll-on, roll-off (Ro-Ro) projects linking China with either the Subic and Batangas ports.

For the North Rail project, Government is stretching the length of the project to Metro Manila—particularly Makati to Clark—in­stead of the following the original plan which is only from Caloocan to Clark in Pampanga.

“We are reconfiguring this project after our productive discussion with top Chinese of­ficials during our recent trip there with the President,” Roxas said.

DOTC likewise formed a team to focus main­ly on controversial contracts entered into by the previous government as well as legal measures of the NAIA Terminal 3 issue to proceed based on fair international standards of commercial settlement.

The agency likewise will pursue a refleeting program for the public land transportation system wherein taxis will only have a lifetime of 10 years, 15 years for shuttle services or the UV Express, and ten years for multi-cabs.

Roxas likewise assured a regime of maritime transport safety during his watch, through investments in satellite-based signaling sys­tems and other radar technologies to make sea travel safer.

On the air transport sector, Roxas said plans are underway to decongest NAIA through the reduction of corporate and air taxi flights by 50% of the current number of sorties dur­ing peak hours as well as trying to transfer non-commercial flights to other areas such as Sangley Point.

“We will construct a rapid exit taxiway to reduce runway occupancy time. We are also studying the transfer of non-commercial flights to other areas such as Sangley Point,” he said.

For the near future, Roxas has lined-up sever­al “greenfield” projects such as the proposed Cebu Bus Rapid Transit. Under a study com­pleted in June 2010, the 15-km BRT line from Bulacan from the South West to Talamban in North East of the City will have 22 stations and three terminals.

Roxas also took the opportunity to encourage MBC members to participate in government projects through public-private partnership (PPP).