Communication infra priority for government

IMPROVING Communications and logistics is a priority for the Marcos administration, a senior finance official told an online forum hosted by The Manila Times.

“I think [that] some of the discussions about infrastructure spending have focused a lot on connectivity across the country,” said Deputy Treasury Minister Zeno Ronald Abenoha.

For example, the role of railways, especially passenger and freight transport, which will link agricultural producing regions with urban areas or consuming sectors, could be further developed.


A general view of trains parked at the Philippine National Railways depot in Manila. The second Marcos administration is prioritizing communications and logistics to connect the country’s agricultural regions with urban areas. PHOTO BY RENE H. DYLAN

Port areas and airports have also attracted attention during discussions, Abenoha noted, adding that another type of connection will focus on connecting tourist spots around the archipelago.

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Last month, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. stated that infrastructure development would continue to be a top priority in the government’s efforts to generate growth and employment.

“Infrastructure spending will be kept at 5-6 percent of GDP (gross domestic product). The development of our infrastructure is paramount as it is a necessary element for the improvement of many other sectors, including agriculture, tourism, general economic activity and even governance,” he said during his first address to the nation.

Railroads, in particular, have great potential, Marcos added, because they are still the cheapest way to transport people and goods, and because the government can expand existing lines by updating outdated infrastructure.

“There are dozens of railway projects – above ground, above ground, underground, not only in Manila but also in other regions – at various stages of implementation and with a total cost of 1.9 trillion pesos,” he said.

147 km North-South Commuter Rail System, 33 km Manila Metro Metro Project, 12 km Light Rail Transit (LRT) 1, Cavite Extension, 23 km Metro Transit (MRT) 7 and a common station that will connect the LRT. 1, MRT 3 and MRT 7 are just some of the approved rail projects in the current investment portfolio.

Wider networks such as the 102 km Mindanao Railway Project, the Panay Railway Project and the Cebu Railway System will be integrated as an important component of the country’s transportation and communications systems.

Marcos said the government will continue to improve the country’s roads and transportation infrastructure through a series of initiatives, including the El Nido Transportation Terminal, the Ilocos Norte Transportation Hub, the Davao High Priority Bus System and the Cebu Rapid Bus Network.

“Improving our rail system, along with upgrading existing airports and seaports, will maximize our strategic position in the Pacific and connect our many islands,” he added.