The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is eyeing to complete about 2,000 kilometers of railway during the Duterte administration, its chief said on Tuesday, July 18.
“Hinahangad ho namin na bago matapos ang term, ang termino ng ating Pangulo na limang taon, kailangan ho nailagay na ho namin sa operable condition ang 1,900 kilometers of railway,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a press briefing in Malacañang.
He noted the need for multipliers effect that is generated by numbers such as numbers in coaches and trains.
“Kaya nga ho, meron tayong improved transportation system sa Metro Manila from Tutuban to Clark; from Clark to Los Baños; from Los Baños, Calamba to Bicol. And then having said that, we have to have a cargo railway system between Clark and Subic. This is the railway system in Central Luzon,” he said.
Tugade assured that Mindanao will not be left behind, noting that the construction for the first phase of the 1,500-kilometer Mindanao Express will commence next year.
“Pangmalawakang railway system, pagka’t tama po kayo, the more facility we have, the more ridership we have, the more decongestion we have achieved and if we have more decongestion that we have achieved then traveling will be more comfortable, will be more relaxed, and more importantly, will be more safe,” Tugade said.
The Cabinet official also bared plans for the establishment of a Railway Institute where those who will work in the country’s railway and subway system will be trained.
The DOTr, Tugade said, is spearheading the construction of the first Philippine subway system.
“In fact, nakaabang na ho ‘yung mga dokumento na kung saan mabibigyan reyalidad ‘yung pangarap na magkaroon tayo ng first subway system,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tugade said the department is working on addressing the problems with regard to the Metro Rail Transit, including manpower, railways, power, signaling, maintenance, and inventory control.
“May ginagawa ho tayo. Bigyan niyo kami nang konting palugit, a-adresan namin ‘yan,” he said.
“Sa mga darating na linggo, Usec. Cesar, apat na linggo siguro. Meron ho tayong gagawing mga kilos na nauugma sa sistema,” he added.
The Transportation chief also mentioned improvements in the Philippine aviation system since the Duterte government took office, noting that the number of radars were increased to 13 from 3.
During the same briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella announced that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has recommended to extend the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao until December 31, 2017, or for such period of time as Congress may determine.
In a letter submitted to Congress, the President said he came to the conclusion “upon a thorough, personal assessment of the current situation in Marawi City and other parts of Mindanao, and taking into account the reports and recommendations of the Secretary of National Defense, as martial law administrator; the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as martial law implementor; and the Chief of the Philippine National Police.”
“The primary objective of the possible extension is to allow our forces to continue with their operation, unhampered by deadlines and to focus more on the liberation of Marawi and its rehabilitation and rebuilding,” the Palace official explained. ###PND