The Philippines is investing more than P700 billion this year until 2025 to build more mass railway projects in Luzon and Mindanao to address traffic woes in the country, according to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
In a virtual briefing, Transport Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John R. Batan said the programmed capital expenditure (CapEx) for 11 railways projects amounted to P90.75 billion this year, P278.27 billion in 2022, P222.74 billion in 2023, P104.10 billion in 2024 and P45.47 billion in 2025.
These 11 railway projects are the LRT-1 Cavite Extension Project, LRT2 East Extension, LRT2 West Extension, MRT 3 Rehabilitation, MRT4 Project, Metro Manila Subway, Common Station, North-South Commuter Railway, Subic-Clark Railway, PNR South Long Haul Project and the Mindanao Railway Project.
Batan said the total project cost of investment-approved rail projects as of 2020 amounted to P1.7 trillion, higher from the P528.5 billion in 2016.
He said that the country’s railway projects will be largely funded by official development assistance (ODA), led by Japan for International Cooperation Agency (JICA) amounting to P796.58 billion.
This was followed by Asian Development Bank (ADB) amounting to P444.60 billion, Chinese government, P307.04 billion; Public-Private Partnership (PPP), P107.76 billion and GAA-funded, P13.07 billion.
Once most of the railway projects completed in 2022, Batan said the total route length of the country’s railway will increase to 1,209 kilometers from the 77 kilometers in 2016.
At present, the country’s railway length of 77 km is the shortest compared to Jakarta’s 170.2 km, Seoul, Korea, 490 km, Tokyo, 700 km and Shanghai, 690 km.
Batan added that the number of railway stations will increase from 61 in 2016 to 168 stations in 2022, while the number of trains will raise to 1,381 from 224 trains.
He said that these railway infrastructure projects would help the country’s economy to “bounce back” from COVID-19 and resolve the country’s traffic woes.
Batan said the annual direct economic cost of congestion in Greater Capital Region amounted to P1.277 trillion as of 2017.
The government is investing P7.74 trillion in infrastructure projects under the Build Build Build Program until 2022.