Despite challenges and other setbacks over the last five years, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) continues to help the Duterte Administration realize its goal of ushering the country into its ‘GOLDEN AGE OF INFRASTRUCTURE’ with completed and ongoing transport projects and initiatives, DOTr Secretary Art Tugade said.
“Kung titingnan mo at ikukumpara mo ‘yung ginawa ng Duterte administration sa apat na taon, tsaka ‘yung konstruksyon at imprastruktura na ginawa, figure for figure, performance for performance, accomplishments for accomplishments, siguro naman because of the improvement, puwedeng masasabi na nalagay na sa pedestal ng performance ng ating Pangulo, ng Duterte administration ‘yung paggawa patungo sa tinatawag na ‘GOLDEN AGE OF INFRASTRUCTURE,’ said Secretary Tugade during the Progress Update on the Build, Build, Build briefing yesterday, 18 June 2021.
Secretary Tugade joined the rest of the Build, Build, Build Infrastructure team, including Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Secretary Vince Dizon and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar, to give the latest developments on the program.
For transport infrastructure projects, Sec. Tugade pointed out that even the COVID-19 pandemic did not stop the DOTr and its attached agencies from completing and continuing the infrastructures and initiatives that were started at the start of the Duterte administration.
“Madali ‘hong sumuko kami at sabihing give-up na ako may pandemya naman. Hindi po ‘yan ang Kagawaran ng Transportasyon. Hindi po ganyan ang Administrasyong Duterte. Sumige at tuloy-tuloy tayo na gawin ang mga imprastraktura notwithstanding and despite the existence of pandemya at Covid,” Tugade said.
During the press briefing near the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge in Makati City, Secretary Tugade said that with a limited time, the DOTr has addressed long-standing issues since taking over in 2016. These include the “laglag-bala” modus in Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), millions of backlog in driver’s licenses, and lack of initiatives to address EDSA traffic, the derailment and maintenance issues of the MRT-3, among others.
Aviation and Airports
Secretary Tugade said the DOTr, through the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), has completed 212 airport projects while 102 more are ongoing. He also mentioned notable completed airport projects such as the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Bohol-Panglao International Airport, and the new Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) of the Clark International Airport, which will be inaugurated next month.
The transportation chief also revealed that several airport projects are also set to be inaugurated this year. These are the Catarman Airport, Butuan Aiport, Busuanga Airport, Zamboanga Airport, Siquijor Airport, General Santos Airport, and the Bicol International Airport.
In the Railway Sector, the Transportation Secretary announced that the new Marikina and Antipolo Stations of the LRT-2 East Extension project will start operations on 22 June 2021. Meanwhile, Tugade also reported that the Common Station, which will interconnect the LRT-1, MRT-3, MRT-7, and the Metro Manila Subway, will be completed this year.
Apart from these, the DOTr is also working on other railway projects, such as the Metro Manila Subway, MRT-7, North-South Commuter Railway Project, LRT-1 Cavite Extension, and Subic-Clark Railway Project.
In the Maritime sector, Secretary Tugade reported that the DOTr, together with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), has completed 446 seaport projects since 2016 and is currently working on 117 more.
Tugade highlighted the completion of the country’s biggest passenger terminal building (PTB) in the Port of Cagayan de Oro that can now accommodate 3,000 passengers daily. Moreover, he also mentioned that social tourism ports in Palawan made the province easily accessible for nearby regions and neighboring countries.
Sec. Tugade also reported on the success of the EDSA Busway system and the promotion of active transportation, with the planned opening of new roads, pedestrian facilities, and 560 kilometers of protected bike lanes in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Metro Cebu.
Secretary Tugade noted the construction of the EDSA Busway Bridge and Concourse and the establishment of the EDSA Greenways Project, to complement the operations of the EDSA Carousel.
Sec. Tugade also reported on the COVID-19 efforts of the DOTR such as the establishment of isolation facilities, One-Stop-Shops in NAIA terminals, and crew change hubs. He added the Department’s whopping contribution to the National Treasury through the dividends and remittance of the CAAP, PPA, and MIAA, which collectively amounted to more than P50 billion over the past five (5) years.
“We have shown you in the limited time that we have, hindi lang kami pang transportasyon, katulong at katuwang din kami in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic,” Tugade said.
“Hiling ko, malapit na ‘ho ang oras namin sa termino ni Presidente Duterte. Hahabol ‘ho kami ng mga gawain. Pakiusap, bigyan ninyo kami ng tiwala, pabaunan ninyo kami ng dasal. ‘Pag kami nag-succeed, kayo din ay magiging happy. Kung kami ay nag-succeed at kayo ay naging happy, everybody happy,” Tugade expressed.