By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The Department of Transportation is seeking additional P2.9 billion to fund its priority projects, including the development of four airports, the construction of the Pagasa Island port, and the implementation of the public utility vehicle modernization program.
DOTr Undersecretary for Finance Garry de Guzman presented to the House Committee on Appropriations the agency’s “wish list”, citing the need to augment their proposed P147-billion budget for 2020, which is more than double than this year’s P67.67 billion budget.
“Our total additional funding request for 2020 is P2.9 billion, augmentation for DOTr projects,” he told the panel.
He identified the DOTr’s list of priority projects which were unfunded under their proposed 2020 budget.
De Guzman said the aviation sector needs P865 million for the development of airports and upgrading of airport facilities.
Of this, P100 million will be allocated for the development of Laguindingan Airport, P75 million for Virac Airport, P75 million for Ormoc Airport, and P100 million for the Antique Airport “to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA),” he said.
The DOTr is also seeking P227.5-million funding for the Pagasa Island port, P72 million for the establishment of the K-9 Academy, P691 million for the public utility vehicle modernization program, and P201.9 million for the Inter-agency Council for Traffic.
Under their proposed additional funding requests, P486.5 million will be allocated to the maritime sector and P1.5 billion for the road sector.
De Guzman said they need another P62 million for the creation of the Philippine Railway Institute.
During the briefing, he disclosed P108 billion has been allocated to fund the DOTr’s infrastructure projects, 99 percent of which or P106.7 billion will benefit the railway sector.
Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr., the vice-chairperson of House Committee on Appropriations, has noted that P106.7 billion to build, renew, and upgrade railways for next year “is five times the P19.9-billion allocation this year for the same purpose.”
Of the 106.7 billion budget for the railway sector, P84.8 billion will go to North-South Commuter Railway System, the 147-kilometer, 36-station elevated railway project that will run from Calamba, Laguna to New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.
The railway will also provide a direct link to Clark International Airport in the cities of Angeles and Mabalacat in Pampanga.
The DOTr’s allocation for the Railway Construction, Rehabilitation and Improvement Program in the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 also includes P9.8 billion for the Metro Manila Subway Project Phase 1; P5 billion for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 Rehabilitation Project; P878 million for the South Long-Haul Project that will link up Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Bicol and cut travel time between Manila and Legazpi City to just six hours, from 13 hours; P97 million for the Mindanao Railway Project; and P74 million for the LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension Project.