The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said it is aiming to reduce transport costs in the country by about 8.5 percent by 2016 with the infrastructure projects already under way and the reforms it has launched.
The DOTC said it is also looking at increasing urban mass transport ridership from 1.2 million to 2.2 million by 2016 as well as the development of intermodal facilities.
“All these infrastructure [projects]that we’re doing — the reforms in shipping, in Marina [Maritime Industry Authority], making airports jet capable, containerizing port operations that would further bring down logistics cost,” are meant to help reduce overall transport costs, DOTC Secretary Emilio Joseph Abaya told reporters on the sidelines of the Philippine Economic Briefing on Tuesday.
“Government investments as well as efforts to encourage participation of private enterprises in the area of public infrastructure mean a lot as for the goal of sustainability,” Abaya said.
Abaya also said the government, over the next two years, intends to put up airports, seaports, and roro (roll-on, roll-out) ports in order to make the country’s major production areas and tourism destinations more accessible.
JICA’s ‘Dream Plan’
Earlier, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) announced that it has completed its study on the proposed “Dream Plan for Metro Manila,” the first part of which involves a P520-billion short-term program of decongesting traffic between now and 2016.
The short-term program contains proposals to fill missing links in major thoroughfares, the expansion of expressways serving as entrances to Metro Manila, and the development of rail and road-based mass transport systems, among others.
JICA project manager Shizuo Iwata said, “We have just completed the study.”
Iwata underlined that the short-term program prioritizes the decongestion of Metro Manila by improving existing infrastructures and other assets.
Iwata suggested that the government align investments necessary to carry out the proposals and expedite decision-making in order to avoid delays.
“[There is] enough money to fund [the projects], the government has money, especially the private sector. They have the capacity, capability, but because of the very unclear decision-making process many projects [have]been delayed… so that’s the problem,” Iwata said.
He added that the government is ultimately responsible for implementing the proposals contained in the Dream Plan.
Among the road projects lined up under the short-term program is filling the missing links in C5, construction of the Global City-Ortigas Link Road, construction of the Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (Edsa)-Taft Flyover, and the rehabilitation of Edsa.
The program also enumerated expressway projects such as the Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Link Toll Road, the North Luzon Expressway-SLEX connectors, Phase 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway, and the Calamba-Los Baños Expressway, among others.
Moreover, included in the development projects for rail and road-based mass transport systems is the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite Extension, LRT-2 East Extension, Metro Rail Transit Line 3 Capacity Expansion, Mega Manila North-South Commuter Railway, Public Road Passenger Transport Reform Study, and the proposed Bus Rapid Transport System 1, among others.
The short-term program, on top of the cited projects, also includes proposals for improving traffic management systems and the development of airports and ports as part of the overall strategy to decongest Metro Manila traffic.
Iwata revealed that the government has already commissioned the Japanese government to undertake the development of the North-South Commuter Rails.
JICA also submitted proposals to institutions that would facilitate implementation of the Dream Plan. These proposals include clearing backlogs of unimplemented projects, ramping up the delivery capacity of transport agencies, harnessing the resources of local government units for many secondary roads, and outsourcing project studies to support current institutional weakness, among others.
JICA recently presented its Mega Manila Infrastructure Roadmap. The roadmap includes the Dream Plan to develop a modern, well-coordinated, integrated, and affordable transport system for Metro Manila by 2030.
Iwata urged the government to immediately jump-start implementation of the Dream Plan. He added that he could not think of a reason why the government would not be able to execute it.
“Money is there, either from private sectors [or]ODA (official development assistance). [The] Japanese government has already [undertaken]a presidential talk and [agreed to the implementation of the plan],” he said.
“We came [up with]a good plan, it was there but nothing moves, so that’s the question,” Iwata said.
The Dream Plan aims to help improve mobility and the quality of life of people in Metro Manila and its surrounding areas.
“The Dream Plan will address congestion in Metro Manila, ITS [Integrated Terminal System] building more mass rail. Everything that we’re doing in DOTC contributes to that,” Abaya said.