Big chunk of DOTr’s 2024 budget allotted for infra development

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

August 10, 2023, 12:13 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – A substantial portion of the proposed PHP214.3 billion budget of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for 2024 will be earmarked for the implementation of the Marcos administration’s “Build Better More” infrastructure program, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said Thursday.

In a statement, the DBM said a total of PHP176.4 billion of the DOTr’s proposed 2024 allocation would go to its Public Sector Infrastructure budget, fostering high-impact infrastructure flagship public transport projects approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board.

The infrastructure projects include the North-South Commuter Railway System and the Metro Manila Subway Project Phase I under the Rail Transport Program; the Land Public Transportation Program; and the Aviation and Maritime Infrastructure Programs of the DOTr.

The DBM said the Rail Transport Program would receive more than 76.4 percent of the proposed budget for infrastructure development to facilitate the improvement and construction of modern railway systems.

“The investment will include projects, such as the North-South Commuter Railway System, the Metro Manila Subway Project Phase I, LRT (Light Rail Transit) Line 1 Cavite Extension Project, the Philippine National Railways South Long Haul Project, and the MRT (Metro Rail Transit) Line 3 Rehabilitation Project,” it said.

The DBM said about PHP76.3 billion would be allocated for the development of the North-South Commuter Railway System, which will connect New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac to Calamba, Laguna.

A total of PHP68.4 billion would be used for the Metro Manila Subway Project Phase I, which will consist of 15 stations from Valenzuela City to Pasay City.

The government will allot PHP4.7 billion for the LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension Project, which will add 11 km. to the existing railway system; PHP3.1 billion for the Philippine National Railways South Long Haul Project, which will reconstruct the PNR South Main Line; and PHP2.9 billion for the MRT 3 Rehabilitation Project.

The DBM said the Land Public Transportation Program would get some PHP6.4 billion for several infrastructure projects.

About PHP1 billion would be tapped for the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project; PHP909 million for EDSA Busway Project; PHP700 million for Cebu Bus Rapid Transit Project; PHP500 million for Active Transport Bike Share System and Safe Pathways Program in Metropolitan Areas; and PHP263 million for EDSA Greenways Project.

The DBM said the Aviation Program, which focuses on modernizing and developing airports nationwide, would be allocated PHP6.1 billion.

“Investments include projects the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (PHP1.6 billion); Kalibo International Airport (PHP581 million); Laoag International Airport (PHP500 million); Tacloban Airport (PHP500 million); Busuanga Airport (PHP405 million); New Zamboanga International Airport (PHP300 million); New Manila International Airport (PHP200 million); Bukidnon Airport (PHP120 million); New Dumaguete Airport Development Project (PHP500 million); and the New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Projects (PHP97 million),” it said.

To improve air traffic management, the DBM said PHP1.3 billion would be allotted to the new Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) System Development Project.

The DBM said the DOTr’s Maritime Infrastructure Program would receive PHP988 million, inclusive of PHP625 million for the Maritime Safety Enhancement Project and PHP134 million for the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project Phase I.

It added that the budget for maritime infrastructure projects would be used to improve response to maritime incidents and enhance the conduct of maritime law enforcement and security operations.

“This push on infrastructure development is aligned with the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, and the country’s Medium-Term Fiscal Framework,” the DBM said.

In his Budget Message, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. emphasized the significance of increasing the DOTr's funding in 2024, citing the vital role of transportation policy in driving sustainable economic growth.

“Transportation policy can have significant and lasting impacts on overall economic growth. Hence, with the urgent need to improve our country’s public mass transport system and reduce road congestion, we have doubled the budget for the DOTr from PHP106.0 billion in the FY (fiscal year) 2023 GAA (General Appropriations Act) to PHP214.3 billion for 2024," Marcos said. (PNA)