DOTr eyes fast-tracking rail projects through Japanese aid

By Raymond Carl Dela Cruz

February 21, 2024, 5:32 pm

MANILA – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is looking to fast-track major railway projects in the country through technical and financial assistance from the Japanese government.

During a meeting with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Japanese Ministry of Land Infrastructure Transport and Tourism on Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista called for their discussions to be realized in the ongoing construction of several big-ticket rail projects in the country.

“Let us move beyond table-top discussions. Let us cascade the inertia of transformation to the frontlines of these projects,” Bautista said.

The provision of cutting-edge technology through assistance from the Japanese government, he said, will keep the Philippines’ railway projects “modern and at par with other countries.”

“The challenge is to extract from today’s discussions how best to bridge the gap between our vision of an ideal rail industry and the current status of our rail system operations,” he said.

Bautista said the drafting of a 30-year railway master plan “must serve as a springboard” for discussions towards sustainable operations of the Metro Manila Subway, the North-South Commuter Railway, the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 and other railway projects.

“We must focus on sustainable operations, which requires the collaboration of government and private operators,” he said.

During the meeting, Bautista spoke with the Japanese Embassy to the Philippines’ Economic Minister Nihei Daisuke, JICA chief representative to the Philippines Takema Sakamoto, and Dr. Morichi Shigeru from the Japan National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies. (PNA)